Robert Butts

Guest conducting Jan. 22, 2018

Robert Butts serves as Music Director and Conductor with The Baroque Orchestra of New Jersey, New York Classical Music Society, Eastern Opera Company, and In Mid Air Productions. He teaches and lectures at Drew University, Montclair State University, The College of Saint Elizabeth, and The New Jersey Council For the Humanities. He has done pre-concert talks for NJPAC, The New Jersey Symphony, The New Jersey State Opera and Elderhostel. With BONJ, he has developed the broadcast video series Concerts and Conversations. He is a recipient of the Arts Council of the Morris Area Arts Professional of the Year and has been a finalist for the 2010 and 2011 American Prize for Orchestral Conducting, the 2011 and 2012 American Prize for Opera Conducting, and the 2011 Vytautas Marijosius Memorial Award. In 2015, he was a finalist for opera/orchestra conductor and for orchestra/theater composition. He was awarded the 2011 American Prize Citation for outstanding educational and outreach work in music. On March 7, 2015, Maestro Butts made his debut in Italy conducting Pergolesi’s La Serva Padrona at Teatro San Domenico in Crema. He was named a 2015 American Prize Honored Artist.   He was also recently featured in interviews on WQXR, Comcast Newsmakers,and New Jersey Monthly. Dr. Butts is New Jersey’s most wide-ranging conductor, exploring the operatic as well as the orchestral worlds. He is the only conductor to have conducted three Wagner Ring Operas (Die Walküre, Das Rheingold, Siegfried) in New Jersey. He is the only conductor to have led three Handel operas (Acis and Galatea, Semele, Giulio Cesare) in New Jersey. He has conducted premieres of over a dozen works for large and small ensemble. With BONJ, he has edited and led modern day first performances of works by composers such as Franz Krommer and Ditters von Dittersdorf. Dr. Butts edited Alessandro Scarlatti’s 1693 oratorio La Giuditta, from a manuscript discovered in the archives of the National Park Service, Morristown, New Jersey. With BONJ, Maestro Butts led the first modern day performances of this masterpiece in concerts in New York City and in Morristown. Dr. Butts has appeared with orchestras in the United States and Europe, including the Berlin Sinfonietta in Berlin, Germany; the Congress Orchestra in St Petersburg, Russia; Opera Constanta in Romania; Bohuslav Martinu Orchestra in Czech Republic; and other ensembles across Eastern Europe. Dr. Butts has led The Baroque Orchestra of New Jersey in three special appearances at the Boston Early Music  Festival, conducting music he edited by Scarlatti, Handel, Graun, and Pachelbel. Dr. Butts has presented papers at conferences of the American Musicological Society, The Sonneck Society, The Conference on American Country Music, and The Handel Symposium. His articles and reviews have appeared in Journal for American Folklore, Sonneck Society Journal, Classical New Jersey Journal, Opera News, Modern Music, Early Music Newsletter, and Continuo Magazine. As a composer, Dr. Butts has created popular works for orchestra, voice and chamber ensembles. His opera The Tell-Tale Heart was premiered with In Mid Air Productions in October 2010. His adaptation of Poe’s The Cask of Amontillado was first performed March 2014 at NJIT. Collaborating with award-winning New Jersey Playwright Jewel Seehaus-Fisher, he has composed music for Gesualdo: A Music Drama, A Night in the Wilde Wild West and Mark Twain and the General, which was given its first orchestral performance at NJIT, Newark. In January 2013, Dr. Butts was one of five invited composers for the 24 Hour Opera Project with Atlanta Opera. Early Morning Suite, his work for solo classical guitar was premiered in London in September 2015.

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