Robert is a conductor known for his considerable skill, clarity of technique and good rapport with musicians. He devises exciting programmes that are enjoyable and challenging for players and audiences.
In the last few seasons Robert has developed a special relationship with Malta Philharmonic Orchestra, conducting them at venues across the island, and he is delighted to return in the 19/20 season to work with the orchestra again. He also recently made his debut working for the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, conducting a side-by-side workshop in Swansea.
Robert has been the Musical Director of the City of Cambridge Symphony Orchestra since 2012, and in May 2020 he will reach a total of 50 concerts with them. As part of another wonderful six-concert season at West Road Concert Hall, Robert is excited to mark this milestone with a performance of Strauss’ monumental tone poem, An Alpine Symphony. Robert is also Musical Director of Aylesbury Symphony Orchestra, and he is looking forward to his first season with Essex Symphony Orchestra, alongside a guest appearance with Finchley Symphony Orchestra.
The 19/20 season sees the remarkable 75th Anniversary of Stoneleigh Youth Orchestra (SYO) and Robert is delighted to celebrate with them, with concerts at Cadogan Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, and an ambitious celebratory programme of music and star soloists. Recently SYO have enjoyed success performing in the NFMY Proms at the Royal Albert Hall, and a broadcast on BBC Radio 3 as part of the Making Music ‘Adopt a Composer’ scheme. SYO tour extensively, and under his guidance have developed a wonderful exchange partnership with Malta Youth Orchestra.
Alongside SYO, Robert is Regional Director of Music for the National Children’s Orchestras of Great Britain, and Conductor in Residence at St Albans High School. He also works at the Royal College of Music Junior Department (RCMJD) where he conducts the Sinfonia, and he enjoys working with organisations including Malta Youth Orchestra, Yorchestra, Oasby Music Group, and Benslow Music.
He is increasingly busy as a teacher of conducting technique. Robert is responsible for all of the conducting classes at the RCMJD, and he teaches on the Masters Programme at the Royal College of Music (RCM), delivering a unit entitled ‘The Conductor as Educator’. He has also given workshops and training in ensemble conducting technique for a number of schools and music services.
Born in Pembrokeshire, Robert studied at Royal Holloway, University of London before winning a scholarship, funded by the H R Taylor Trust, to the Royal College of Music where his conducting teachers were Peter Stark and Robin O’Neill. At the RCM he prepared the orchestras and acted as assistant to conductors including Lorin Maazel, Bernard Haitink and Vladimir Ashkenazy. In 2011 Robert was a member of the European Union Youth Orchestra, playing orchestral piano and celeste for their European tour.
For three years Robert was Musical Director of Nonesuch Orchestra, conducting an extensive series of outreach concerts and appearing at London festivals including the St Jude’s Proms in Hampstead. He has toured the UK with aerial theatre company Ockham’s Razor, directing choirs for their critically acclaimed production, Not Until We Are Lost. In past seasons, he has conducted Oxford University Orchestra, King’s College London Symphony Orchestra, Suffolk Sinfonia, Havant Symphony Orchestra, Kingston Philharmonia, Farnborough Symphony Orchestra, the Yorchestra Holiday Courses, the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain and Tallis Chamber Orchestra.
Dan Shilladay read music at the University of Birmingham before completing a master’s degree in contemporary music studies at the University of York. Following study at the Royal College of Music and a year with Southbank Sinfonia, he is now a London-based freelance musician and has worked with, among others, the Hanover Band (with whom he is co-principal viola) the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Britten Sinfonia, the English Chamber Orchestra and the English Baroque Soloists, with whom he has performed at the BBC Proms.
Alongside period instrument performance, he is especially interested in contemporary music, and has played in the York and Cheltenham festivals. With Southbank Sinfonia he has taken part in acclaimed productions at the National Theatre of Every Good Boy Deserves Favour and Amadeus.
A keen chamber musician, Dan is a founder member of the Berkeley Ensemble, a flexible group of winds and strings specialising in twentieth and twenty-first century British music. Formed in 2008, the group has released four albums to critical acclaim, the third of which was nominated for a Gramophone award in 2017.
Dan is also in demand as a conductor and educator and in addition to Stoneleigh Youth Training Orchestra directs the Nonesuch Orchestra. He has also appeared as a guest conductor with Kingston Philharmonia and Barnet Symphony Orchestra. Proud of his northern roots, Dan has coached chamber ensembles at the University of York and is a tutor and conductor on the Yorchestra holiday music courses.