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     Shaw, Robert Lawson (30th April 1916-25th January 1999)

    He was an conductor born in Red Bluff, California, to a family where his father and grandfather were both ministers and his mother was a church choral singer.  He studied at Pomona College in Los Angeles and while there he joined the glee club and was asked to take over the choir for a faculty leader that was ill.  Fred Waring who was making a movie there noticed the choir and was so impressed he asked him to set up a glee club in New York.  Venturing out in his professional career in music in the late 1930s/early 1940s, he established the Collegiate Chorale, which made a name for itself because of the racial integration it made.  Becoming noticed they appeared with Arthur Toscanini and the NBC Symphony in 1945 in a performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony and much impressing Toscanini, he worked with and arranged choirs for him until 1954.  In 1949 he formed his extremely successful Robert Shaw Chorale who went on to undertake worldwide US State Department sponsored tours where they visited over 30 countries and make numerous recordings for RCA Records.  In 1953 he was given the position of Music Director of the San Diego Symphony and he stayed there until 1957 until he undertook studies with George Szell and became his assistant for eleven years at the Cleveland Orchestra.  While there he turned the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus into a highly acclaimed volunteer ensemble and would repeat this feat when he established the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus in his years of being the Music Director of the ASO from 1967 to 1988.  After leaving this position in 1988, the ASO saw fit to bestow on him the title of Music Director Emeritus and Conductor Laureate.    Other ensembles he led during and after his ASO years were his Robert Shaw Chamber Singers and the Robert Shaw Festival Singers and he also established the Robert Shaw Institute which sponsors the Robert Shaw Festival and encourages the production and creation of  the choral arts.  Known for his countless recordings in all genres of music from glee club to sacred music he was the recipient of forty honorary degrees and citations, four ASCAP awards, 14 Grammy Awards, the Ditson Conductor's Award, a Kennedy Center Honors in 1991 and a Guggenheim Fellowship, which made him the first conductor to ever receive one. He also won several other international awards and was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame and American Classical Music Hall of Fame.  He had a stroke in 1999 and died in New Haven, Connecticut, at the age of 82, leaving behind him a wonderful legacy of choral singing and standards.

     

    Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus recordings

    Angels We Have Heard on High (Traditional French/James Chadwick/Edward Barnes)

    Telarc 80087 (CD: The Many Moods of Christmas)

    Conductor - Robert Shaw

     

    Cleveland Orchestra & Chorus recordings

    A Babe is Born (Traditional English)

    Musical Arts Association (promo CD)

    Conductor  Robert Shaw

     

    Robert Shaw Chamber Singers recordings

    Angels We Have Heard on High (Traditional French/James Chadwick/Edward Barnes)

    Telarc 80377 (CD: Songs of Angels)


    Robert Shaw Chorale and Orchestra recordings

    Angels We Have Heard on High (Traditional French/James Chadwick/Edward Barnes)

    RCA 6429 (CD: A Festival of Carols)

     

     

    Sources:

    1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Shaw_%28conductor%29
    2. http://atlantasymphony.org/abouttheaso/legacyofrobertshaw.aspx

    3.      http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Bio/Shaw-Robert.htm

    1. http://wc03.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=41:52638~T1
    2. http://us.imdb.com/name/nm0789944/

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    7.                              Here he is conducting the Atlanta Symphony & Chorus in a performance of "Hallelujah Chorus" from Handel's Messiah...

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