The American conductor, composer and music pedagogue, Robert W. Butts, studied at the University of Iowa.
Robert W. Butts has shared his passion, enthusiasm and knowledge of music through his work as conductor, composer, educator, writer, and lecturer. He was the 2011 recipient of the American Prize Citation for educational excellence and was the 2012 American Prize 2nd place winner for community opera conducting, for his critically acclaimed performance of W.A. Mozart's Don Giovanni with BONJ Opera. He was nominated for the 2013 prize for his conducting of Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore and W.A. Mozart's The Magic Flute.
Robert W. Butts has conducted The Baroque Orchestra of New Jersey (BONJ) since its founding in 1996. He has developed the orchestra into one of New Jersey's leading ensembles, expanding the repertoire to include major works of all periods. With Baroque Orchestra of New Jersey, he has conducted rarely heard masterpieces alongisde familiar favorites. Under his baton, audiences have enjoyed the great works of Tchaikovsky, W.A. Mozart, Johannes Brahms, Frédéric Chopin, L.v. Beethoven, George Frideric Handel and Antonio Vivaldi as well as discovering exciting but rarely heard works by composers such as Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf, Anton Reicha, The Chevalier de Saint George, and Robert Woodcock. With the orchestra, Maestro Butts has premiered compositions by Ting Ho, Derwyn Holder, Paul Zeigler and several of his own compositions. In addition, he has conducted with The Berlin Sinfonietta (Germany), Botosani Philarhomonic (Romania), Congress orchestra St Petersburg (Russia), Opera Constanta (Romania), Sibiu Philarhomic (Romania), and Martinu Philharmonic (Czech Republic).
Robert W. Butts has conducted concert and fully staged productions of over 35 operas with BONJ Opera, Opera at Florham, New Jersey Concert Opera, and The Little Opera Company. He was recently named Artistic Director of the newly formed Eastern Opera Company on New Jersey. Butts is the only conductor to have conducted three G.F. Handel operas (Acis and Galatea, Giulio Cesare, Semele) and three Wagner operas (Das Rheingold, Die Walküre, Siegfried) in New Jersey.
Robert W. Butts has composed music as long as he can remember. Recently, several of his works have attracted interntational attention - including his Concerto for Bassoon and Strings and Suite for a Mid-Winter Afternoon. He has composed several effective and popular chamber operas - Mark Twain and the General, The Tell-Tale Heart, The Cask of Amontillado, and Gesualdo: A Music Drama. His most recent theatrical work is A Night in the Wilde Wild West, with book by New Jersey playwright Jewel Seehaus-Fisher revolving around Oscar Wilde's visit to Leadville, Colorado.
Robert W. Butts teaches on the faculties of Montclair State University and The College of Saint Elizabeth. On the college level, he has taught music history, conducting, orchestration and composing as well as werving as mentor for undergraduate research projects. He lectures for many of New Jersey's leading adult and communicty eduction programs. He has developed several leading courses discussing indivudal operas as well as courses on individual composers and musical styles. In addition, he has developed a series of talks that take the course to the audience - living room courses individually designed for small groups to enjoy at home with a personal touch. With The Baroque Orchestra of New Jersey, Butts has developed the innovative Concerts and Conversations, which is broadcast through HTTV and Cablevision.