Robert Dick's interest in conducting began at the age of eight, with often thrice-weekly trips to concerts in Edinburgh, becoming well-versed in the repertoire by the age of 17 when he was invited by then Musical Director Walter Weller to conduct his Royal Scottish National Orchestra. Robert went on to conduct all of the youth orchestras of which he was a member, including the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland and the Royal College of Music Symphony Orchestra.
Having trained in conducting in Vienna, Salzburg and Munich, Robert works across a broad range of styles and frequently conducts the great composers sans score. He maintains a busy schedule of rehearsals and concerts as director/conductor of his own Orchestra of the Canongait--formed in 2002 and known for its ambitious programming and its stylish, well-researched, quality performances of composers such as Mahler, Bruckner, Strauss ('An Alpine Symphony'), Smentana's 'Má vlast' and in 2015, the complete Brahms symphonies cycle. 2016 sees Robert conducting the Canongait in Beethoven's nine symphonies and five piano concerti with acclaimed pianist Murray McLachlan and three of his children performing the piano concerti in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe during August.
Throughout the year, the Dundee Symphony Orchestra, the Bach Ensemble of Edinburgh, the Waverley Consort/Peebles Orchestra and the position of Music Director of the Anstruther Philharmonic Society garner Robert's conducting attentions for symphonic and choral concerts
2015 conducting highlights included the founding of the Waverley Consort and its associated performances of Bach's B minor Mass and Handel's Messiah, Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas in Anstruther, Richard Strauss's Don Quixote and the complete Brahms symphonies cycle with the Orchestra of the Canongait, the latter in the Edinburgh Festival. Now in his 11th season as conductor of the Dundee Symphony Orchestra, under his leadership this orchestra has blossomed. It was an exciting year for the Dundee Symphony Orchestra as well, including performances of Holst's The Planets, Mendelssohn's A Midsummer Night's Dream and a special Great War collaboration with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, commemorating the centenary of the Battle of Loos. The Dundee Courier states, 'Robert Dick's meticulous preparation and musical nous have been instrumental in propelling the DSO from a reasonable amateur orchestra to one upon which audiences can rely to put on a top-class performance.'
In 2008, Dick conducted a BBC Radio 3 Broadcast with the DSO to acclaim and in 2012, he and the DSO presented the UK premiere of a new work titled A Reel of Spindrift, Sky by the orchestra's patron, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies.
Throughout his career, Robert has collaborated with many internationally renowned artists, including Steven Isserlis, Madeleine Mitchell, Yonty Solomon and the world-leading accordionist Owen Murray. This season Robert welcomed violinist Anna-Liisa Bezrodny to perform the Sibelius Violin Concerto in D Minor.
Conductor Dick's wealth of experience and deep musical knowledge have seen him regularly guest conducting groups across Europe, including the Rose Street Ensemble, Edinburgh Symphony Orchestra, Scottish Borders Community Orchestra, Abbey Consort and further afield with the Brecknock Sinfonia in Wales, Blutenburg Kammerphilharmonie Munich. His participation in international conducting courses and competitions has seen him conduct further orchestras in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Spain and the USA.
Conducting highlights in recent years include what are believed to be the Scottish premieres of both Schubert's overture Claudina vonVilla Bella and Elgar's ballet The Sanguine Fan, the UK premiere of the 2012 SPCM Performing Edition of the Finale of Bruckner's Ninth Symphony, as well as the completion of the cycles of the piano concerti by Beethoven and Brahms with Murray McLachlan. Robert conducted the final of the inaugural Watson Forbes International Viola Competition with the Rose Street Ensemble in the Younger Hall in St.Andrews in 2009.
Dick holds diplomas from the Summer Academy of the Mozarteum in Salzburg and the Vienna International Mastercourse Series. He also participated in the International Masterclass with Gennadi Rozhdestvensky and the Thüringen Philharmonie in Gotha, Germany. He came second in the 2001 British Reserve Insurance Conducting Competition in Cardiff and has also been a contestant in the Lovro von Matacic International Conducting Competition in Zagreb, Croatia, the Cadaqués International Conductor's Competition in Spain, and he qualified for the 2009 Leeds Conductor’s Competition.
Robert's operatic credits include productions of Julius Caesar, Carmen, Tosca, Die Fledermaus, Bittersweet', Don Giovanni, The Magic Flute,The Merry Wives of Windsor whilst working as musical director of Fife Opera. As musical director of the Dunfermline Gilbert & Sullivan Society, Robert conducted a number of the Savoy operas, whilst in 2014, Robert staged a special concert performance with the Orchestra & Chorus of the Canongait of Beethoven's Fidelio in Haddington, to mark the bi-centenary of its premiere.
Considerable choral conducting experience includes much of the great repertoire, including Bach's 'St. John's Passion' and 'B Minor Mass', Handel's 'Judas Maccabaeus', Haydn's 'The Creation' and numerous masses, Mozart's 'Requiem' and other masses, Brahms's 'A German Requiem' and Mendelssohn's 'St. Paul'. He has developed a particular affinity for the music of Johann Nepomuk Hummel and considers it a privilege to have brought several of this composer's masses and other works to the audiences of the Anstruther Philharmonic Society and beyond.
Apart from the fact that Robert holds a number of educational positions, he remains very committed to the development of young musicians. His dedication to fostering a love and appreciation of classical music in young people extends to regular masterclasses and workshops, as well as invitations to young musicians to play in his own Orchestra of the Canongait.
Born in Edinburgh, Robert is also a violinist, violist and pianist by training. An Honours graduate of the Royal College of Music in London,studying violin with Madeleine Mitchell and Grigori Zhislin, and piano with Yonty Solomon, Robert also gained the RCM's Associateship Diploma in Violin Performance.
Recently the guest leader of the Tayside Symphony Orchestra, Robert's extensive European tours as an orchestral player have seen him perform in all the major London venues, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw and the Hofburg Palace in Vienna. An avid chamber musician, he performs regularly with Edinburgh’s exciting Rose Street Quartet as well as the Castalia Quartet, in which Robert is the violist.
As a violin and viola soloist, Robert has performed concerti by Bach, Vivaldi, Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Bruch and Brahms and he has freelanced with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the Scottish Concert Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra of Scotland and the Katharine Jenkins Tour Orchestra.
As a concert harpsichordist, Robert has performed Bach's D minor Keyboard Concerto with the Gecko Ensemble and the Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 with the Bach Ensemble of Edinburgh.
Robert is married with 2 young daughters and continues to study conducting with Joerg Bierhance in Vienna.
more about Robert Dick:
Conductor Robert Dick: a musician's musician. Edinburgh native, honours graduate of The Royal College Of Music in London, violinist, violist and pianist by training.
Robert Dick: Dedicated to fostering a love and appreciation of classical music in young people, committed to the development of young musicians.
Robert Dick: All business, arrives well prepared, knows the score, no nonsense, relaxed but thorough rehearsal style, easy to work with, fair, respected and admired by his players.
Robert Dick: Purity in music: beautiful classical music performed as the great composers intended it to be.