Robert Ambrose (conductor)
Robert J. Ambrose is an American conductor who enjoys a highly successful and diverse career. His musical interests cross many genres and can be seen in the wide range of professional activities he pursues. He is founder and music director of the Atlanta Chamber Winds and the Metropolitan Atlanta Youth Wind Ensemble. He also serves on the faculty of Georgia State University.
Ambrose’s interpretations have earned the enthusiastic praise of many leading composers including Leslie Bassett, Michael Colgrass, John Harbison, and Tristan Murail. He has guest conducted across the United States as well as in Canada, Australia, and Greece and ensembles under his direction have performed at Carnegie Hall, Spivey Hall, Boettcher Hall in Denver and at the Hatch Shell in Boston. He has conducted over two dozen premiere performances including works by Michael Colgrass, Christopher Theofanidis, Joseph Turrin, Fred Frith, and Charles Knox. Recent performances of Igor Stravinsky's Symphony of Psalms under his direction have been given been highlighted on Georgia Public Radio.
As a guitarist Ambrose has performed in dozens of jazz ensembles, combos, rock bands and pit orchestras. His rock band Hoochie Suit, formed with members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, received rave reviews throughout the Chicago area and performed for such distinguished guests as Yo-Yo Ma, Larry Combs and Daniel Barenboim.
An ardent supporter of contemporary and avant-garde music, Ambrose is co-founder, co-artistic director and conductor of the contemporary music ensemble Bent Frequency. Composed of members of the Atlanta Symphony and Opera Orchestras as well as musicians from Atlanta’s independent music community, the ensemble has been hailed by Gramophone Magazine as “one of the brightest ensembles on the [Atlanta] scene,” and by the Atlanta Journal Constitution as “ a suddenly indispensable part of the Atlanta music scene.” Since their inception in 2003, they have received widespread critical acclaim for their musical virtuosity and innovative programming.
Ambrose is also founder and music director of the Metropolitan Atlanta Youth Wind Ensemble (MAYWE) program. Currently consisting of the flagship Wind Ensemble, a Jazz Ensemble, and a Percussion Ensemble, the MAYWE program is highly selective and is made up of over one hundred of the most talented high school musicians from the greater Atlanta area. MAYWE ensembles have been invited to perform at Carnegie Hall as well as at the Atlanta Jazz Festival.
Ambrose is the founder and music director of the Atlanta Chamber Winds, a professional wind dectet. The ensemble released its first CD "Music from Paris" in 2009 on Albany Records to a warm critical reception. The American Record Guide noted, "This is some of the best teamwork one willhear—every rhythm in place, every note and timbre beautifully shaped, every chord tuned and balanced to perfection." Fanfare Magazine stated, "These performances under Robert J. Ambrose . . . are nothing less than impeccable and thoroughly idiomatic: a group of actual French musicians could not improve upon them."
Ambrose is currently Director of Wind Studies and Ensembles and Associate Director of the School of Music at Georgia State University. His primary responsibilities are conducting the Symphonic Wind Ensemble, and University Chamber Winds, coordinating the Master of Music in Wind Band Conducting degree program, and overseeing all aspects of the undergraduate music program. Under his direction the Georgia State University Symphonic Wind Ensemble released their first CD, American Manuscripts in 2009.
Ambrose received a Bachelor of Arts in computer science with a concentration in music from Boston College. He holds a Master of Music in music education from Boston University and a Doctor of Music in conducting from Northwestern University. Working under Mallory Thompson, Frank Battisti and Eric Rombach-Kendall. In addition, he has studied with Seiji Ozawa, Robert Spano and André Previn at the Tanglewood Music Center.