Guest Musical Director (National Youth Choir)
Robert Isaacs balances a busy career of singing, conducting, and teaching throughout the United States. He designed the choral program at the Manhattan School of Music and ran it for eight years; more recently, he served as director of choral activities at Princeton University. Robert made his conducting debut at Carnegie Hall with the Argento New Music Project. He has worked as a guest conductor with numerous ensembles, but is particularly pleased to return to the National Youth Choirs, with whom he worked closely as voice coach and associate conductor throughout the 1990s.
Robert has served on the voice faculties of the City University of New York and the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music, in addition to running his own studio. He has appeared as a countertenor soloist with numerous American ensembles, and has ventured to the UK occasionally as well, appearing with the St. Endellion Festival Chorus and the Wells Oratorio Society. In addition to his solo work, Robert is an enthusiastic advocate for ensemble music, and has enjoyed singing and recording with Pomerium, the Vox Vocal Ensemble, and many others. He has been a lay clerk at Grace Cathedral (San Francisco), the Church of the Advent (Boston), and St. Thomas Fifth Avenue (New York). Robert has collaborated with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, accompanied the Mark Morris Dance Group on tour in Russia, and explored extended vocal techniques with Toby Twining Music. He performed twice in Jonathan Miller’s staged St. Matthew Passion at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2006.
Robert graduated with high honors from Harvard University, where he designed his own course of study in choral music. He supported himself for a while as a juggler and unicyclist on the streets of San Francisco, and then spent a year as a Trustman Fellow, researching choral rehearsal psychology throughout England and Scandinavia. In 2002, Robert earned a graduate degree in creative writing at Columbia University; he has published articles on travel, politics, and music in the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, the Baltimore Sun, and Church Music Quarterly. His musical arrangements are published by the Royal School of Church Music.