The former president of the Classics and Jazz division of Universal Music Group, Christopher (Chris) Roberts is a classical musician who has been composing for more than 30 years. A member of the Artistic Advisory Committee of the Gilmore Keyboard Festival, Christopher Roberts participates in selecting winners for the Gilmore Artist Award.
Honoring the exceptional piano accomplishments of global talent, the Gilmore Artist Award was presented to Igor Levit in 2018 for his “immense technical prowess and intellectual depth.” Levit is a 31-year-old Russian-born pianist who moved to Germany at a young age. In 2005, he was the youngest participant in the Arthur Rubinstein Competition in Tel Aviv, where he won four accolades: the Silver Prize, Best Performer of Chamber Music, Audience Favorite, and Best Performer of Contemporary Music.
Levit is a graduate of the Hanover University of Music, Drama, and Media, where he earned the highest academic and performance scores in the school’s history. He gained critical acclaim for his 2013 recording of Beethoven’s late sonatas, which the New Yorker praised for its “technical brilliance.”
The former president of Universal Music Group’s classics and jazz division, Christopher “Chris” Roberts brings a modern approach to classical labels and recordings with the goal of expanding the relevance of classical music. Christopher Roberts is also an accomplished classical pianist and composer. He released his latest work, Sad Waltz, in July 2017.
Sad Waltz serves as a follow-up to House by the Railroad, a solo autobiographical album produced in 2015 that focused on themes of life, love, and hope. Sad Waltz presents a journey of 13 tracks that pay homage to the musicians and musical cultures that influenced Mr. Roberts’ career. The tracks draw from memories and inspirations with music woven into their core.
Mr. Roberts produced Sad Waltz with assistance from longtime collaborators Bob Stark and Grammy Award-winning engineer Kevin Killen. The album also features world-class musicians such as Gerry Leonard, Andy Snitzer, Tony Levin, and Tim Lefebvre.
Christopher (Chris) Roberts is a former music industry executive who guided Universal Music as president and was responsible for its Classics and Jazz Division. His experience in the music sphere includes creating albums with the duo Val Gardena, which recently released its first work in 15 years. Christopher Roberts also has been involved in production capacities with artists such as Sting. The two collaborated on the album If on a Winter’s Night.
The well-received 2010 album had its genesis in the idea of creating songs centered on Christmas and evolved into a song cycle that took the actual winter season as its inspiration. As with 2006’s Labyrinth, which presented the works of 16th-century lute player and composer John Dowland, Sting’s album delves into backroads of the classical and folk canon.
If on a Winter’s Night presents 17 songs from sources that include Christmas carols, lullabies, ballads, and poems. With a title taken from an Italo Calvino novel, the album also offers a smattering of classic Sting original compositions, including "Lullaby for an Anxious Child” and "The Hounds of Winter.” As reviewed on All About Jazz, the album functions as an insightful and carefully conceived work that offers an alternating landscape of hushed warmth and desolation.
A music industry executive who served as the president of Universal Music Group’s Classics and Jazz division, where he also led efforts to release cast albums for a number of stage musicals including Mamma Mia, Christopher “Chris” Roberts has over 30 years of experience in the music industry. Prior to joining Universal Music, Christopher Robert’s skills as a classical pianist resulted in his composing music for prime time television shows and commercials in Germany throughout the 1980s.
Learning to play piano involves learning to read sheet music. As pianists are expected to understand the lingo, here are some key terms.
Allegro. An indication that the musical passage needs to be played at a higher tempo.
Largo. This indicates that the passage needs to be played very slowly.
Chord. Indicates a minimum of three tones, which are to be played together.
Phrase. This denotes a small portion of the music, often relating to a specific thought or idea. Think of it like a sentence within a larger paragraph.
Crescendo. The piece gradually gets louder as it is played, often building to a final climax.
Robisong Consultants president and CEO Christopher “Chris” Roberts has amassed over three decades of experience in the music industry, developing a reputation as both a trained classical pianist and successful record company executive at Universal Music. As president of the Universal Music Classics & Jazz division, Christopher Roberts worked to renew the relevance of the classical and jazz genres, spurring the development of labels including Deutsche Grammophon and Verve.
In a July 2016 article, Guardian critic and reporter Seth Colter Walls predicted that the world may soon see a new golden era of jazz. The genre has enjoyed a resurgence of media attention and popularity in recent years, due in part to collaborations between contemporary jazz musicians and popular recording artists.
Blackstar, the final album by the late pop icon David Bowie, features an array of established jazz performers, and in 2014, Lady Gaga partnered with vocal jazz powerhouse Tony Bennett to produce a full length album, Cheek to Cheek.
In the rap world, Kendrick Lamar’s 2015 release To Pimp a Butterfly featured accomplished jazz musicians, including saxophone player Kamasi Washington and pianist Robert Glasper. The album garnered widespread critical acclaim, the Grammy Award for Best Rap Album, and a nomination for Album of the Year.
The growing presence of jazz in popular music coincides with increasing respect for the genre in the classical sphere. Although classical festivals have historically featured a dearth of jazz musicians, events such as Mostly Mozart at the Lincoln Center have begun to showcase new jazz compositions, while jazz pieces are receiving more attention from both chamber ensembles and critics alike.
With more than 30 years of experience, Christopher “Chris” Roberts is a renowned innovator in the music industry, including work as an executive at Universal Music Group. Before becoming president and CEO of Robisong Consultants, Christopher Roberts was President of Universal Music’s Classics and Jazz Division, where he worked with artists such as Elvis Costello and Sting. Outside of his professional work, Mr. Roberts is a classically trained pianist who enjoys writing and playing music.
A pianist is generally defined as a musician who plays the piano, which can encompass a wide variety of musical styles from jazz to rock and roll. A piano is an acoustic, stringed instrument first developed early in the 18th century. Pianos can be found in many shapes and sizes, but all produce musical notes the same way.
The primary components of a piano are the keys, hammers, strings, and a mechanical damper. A piano produces sound through the use of strings. However, a small hammer is activated when a key is pressed, which actually strikes the string to trigger the sound. Once pressure on the key is removed, a damper at the end of the piano drops onto the string and stops the sound from being produced.
In 1988, Christopher Roberts joined Universal Music as the president of the Classical and Jazz Music division. Since leaving Universal Music, composer and pianist Christopher Roberts is the CEO and president of Robisong Consulting and, with his friend Jeff Leonard, is a part of the band Val Gardena.
Val Gardena, named after a beautiful little-known location in the northern Italian alps, was signed to Mercury Records in 1993, and released their first album, River of Stone, in 1994. The band’s unique instrumental music was categorized as “new age,” but the emotional soundscapes work a bit like soundtracks to a film that doesn’t exist.
Val Gardena’s latest release is 2013’s conceptual album, Synesthesia, which has no song titles other than their numbered composition. The band felt that the spiritual connection between the music and the listener should have the space to mean whatever it needs to mean within that unique relationship. They did not want to contrive an emotion for the listener by using song titles that were not characteristic of that relationship.
Val Gardena represents an artistic partnership and friendship that has lasted over 20 years. The partners continue to make music together and apart.
This year, singer Rufus Wainwright released an album of Shakespeare’s sonnets on Universal’s classical music label Deustche Grammophon, timed according to the anniversary of Shakespeare’s death 400 years ago.
The album, called Take All My Loves, features several vocalists and actors, including Helena Bonham Carter, William Shatner, and Florence Welch. The music combines elements of classical and pop, and the sonnets, especially the lead song, “A Woman’s Face,” touch on the theory of Shakespeare’s possible bisexuality. Wainwright wanted to offer an album that presents the beauty of the centuries-old literature through gorgeous music, all while offering an opportunity to discuss gender and sexuality in today’s world.
Former Universal Music Group president Christopher (Chris) Roberts leads Robisong Consultants as president and CEO. During his time with Universal Music, Christopher Roberts worked as an executive producer on a number of albums, including the original cast recording for the popular Broadway play Wicked. The album is the 2005 Grammy winner for Best Musical Show Album.
An extremely successful Broadway play, Wicked serves as a prequel to The Wizard of Oz and details the early lives of the wicked witch Elphaba and the good witch Glinda. The original cast featured on the 2005 soundtrack includes Kristin Chenoweth as Glinda, Idina Menzel as Elphaba, and Joel Grey as the Wizard. A fifth-anniversary special edition of the soundtrack included a bonus CD with Japanese and German cast recordings of popular songs from the play, a dance remix of “Defying Gravity,” and a recording of “Making Good,” an original song that was omitted from the play.
The original soundtrack has reached double platinum status in the United States, having sold 2,439,000 copies as of February 2014.
After studying music and German literature at Lewis & Clark College, Christopher Roberts moved to Germany and started composing and songwriting. Christopher Roberts adopted a style that combined pop, jazz, and classical training and wrote and produced music for German television and film programs.
Usually production music writers have a decently equipped home recording studio with the ability to compose music that can be sold and licensed to TV networks or advertising agencies. Agencies have a constant need for music of all kinds to go along with TV and radio commercials, so they are always looking for fresh tunes in production music libraries.
After writing a musical score, a successful music composer must be able to record and mix it. Most agencies require broadcast-quality deliverables of a specified length and in a particular format. Although a formal education in music often proves helpful in this profession, music production writers just need the three basic abilities of writing, recording, and mixing music well.
Navigating an illustrious career through a tumultuous period in the music industry, Christopher Roberts provided visionary leadership for the world’s largest recording company.