Robert Orledge is a leading scholar of early twentieth century French music, and a Professor Emeritus of the University of Liverpool.
Professor Orledge was born in Bath, Somerset on 5 January 1948 and educated at the City of Bath Boys' School (1958–65) and at Clare College, Cambridge (1965–71) where he gained a BA (Hons) Music degree in 1968 and an MA in 1972. He was awarded a PhD for his thesis: A Study of the Composer Charles Koechlin (1867–1950) in May 1973.
In 1964 he was awarded the diploma of Associate of the Royal College of Organists (ARCO). In 1971 he was appointed as a lecturer in the Department of Music at The University of Liverpool, being promoted to Senior Lecturer in 1980, to Reader in 1986, and was a professor of music from 1991 to 2002.
Robert Orledge has written books on
Gabriel Fauré (Eulenburg, 1979, repr. 1983); Debussy and the Theatre (Cambridge University Press, 1982, repr. 2009); Satie the Composer (Cambridge, 1990, repr. 2009); Charles Koechlin (1867-1950): His Life and Works (Harwood Academic Publishers, 1990, 2/1995); Satie Remembered (Faber, 1995).
Robert Orledge has completed articles on
- Satie's Sarabandes (1887) for Music and Letters, and on Vexations (1893) (published by Music and Letters in 1998).
- A chapter on "Debussy and Satie" in Debussy Studies (ed. Richard Langham Smith) is since April 1997 available through Cambridge University Press.
Several editions of unknown Satie "discoveries" are now available through Editions Salabert, Paris, and the edition of his 6e Nocturne appeared with Eschig, Paris, in 1994. His latest project is the orchestral full score of Satie's additional music for Gounod's opera Le médecin malgré lui (commissioned by Diaghilev in 1923) from the surviving parts in the Library of Congress, Washington, and the vocal score used in Diaghilev's 1924 production (supplied by Ornella Volta).
Research interests focus also on other French composers of 1860–1950:
Professor Orledge's main interest lies in composers' working methods, and his musicological "detective" work often seeks to trace the genesis of compositions from different versions and sketches, placing them in their historical perspective and evaluating them critically. He also has a special interest in theatre music. In addition he is writing entries on Satie, Koechlin, Caplet, Emmanuel and Charpentier for the revised New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (Macmillan).
Professor Orledge's involvement in the Department of Music in Liverpool includes History Project Work (especially Haydn, Purcell, Debussy and Satie), Aural Training, Style Composition, Orchestration, Analysis and Dissertation supervision (especially postgraduate).
Since taking early retirement from the University of Liverpool in 2004, Robert Orledge has become a 'creative musicologist', completing the unfinished theatrical and other projects of Debussy. These include the opera 'The Fall of the House of Usher' (1915–17), first performed at the Bregenzer Festspiele on 7 August 2006 in a production by Phyllida Lloyd and now available on DVD Capriccio 93517; No-ja-li ou Le Palais du Silence' (1914), first performed in Los Angeles on 8 May 2006, conducted by Ransom Wilson; 'Fetes galantes' (1915); 'La Saulaie' (1899–1900), first performed at the University of Maryland on 24 April 2013 with Andrew McLaughlin (Baritone), conducted by John Devlin; 'Nocturne' for Violin and Orchestra (1893–96), first performed in Amsterdam on 19 November 2011, conducted by Heinz Holliger with Isabelle Faust as soloist; 'Poeme' for Violin and Orchestra (1910–14), first performed in Calgary with Edmond Agopian as soloist; Debussy's other Poe opera, 'Le Diable dans le beffroi' (1903), to a libretto by Stephen Wyatt), first performed in Montreal on 28 February 2012, conducted by Paolo Bellomio; 'Sérénade' for Violin and Orchestra (1893-4), first performed in Calgary on 28 January 2011, with Edmond Agopian as soloist, conducted by Gareth Jones.
He has also orchestrated Debussy's opera 'Rodrigue et Chimène' (1890–93), the cantata 'Diane au bois' (1881–85), first performed at the Royal College of Music, London on 15 February 2012, conducted by Kees Bakels; the four 'Proses lyriques' (1892–93); the 'Chansons de Blitis' (1898) and the 'Second Suite Bergamasque' (1904). 'Masques' and 'D'un cahier d'esquisses' were premiered in Calgary on 20 November 2012, and his orchestration of 'Toomai des éléphants' on 28 January 2012, both conducted by Edmond Agopian. These are all available from Ego Parade Press, Brighton (email@example.com). His Satie editions (like 'Ludions', the 'Danses Gothiques', 7e Nocturne, 'La Mer est plein d'eau', and Debussy's 'Toomai des éléphants' (1913) and the 'Petite valse' (1915) are published by SOUNDkiosk editions (www.SOUNDkiosk.com). He also composes his own music and his score for a new version of 'Petrushka' was commissioned by the Arts Council in 2007 and performed by the Krazy Kat Theatre Company in its April–May 2008 tour. His 14 new songs for the musical 'Diamond', to lyrics by Linda Wilkinson, will be performed at the Brighton Dome Theatre from 3–9 June 2013.