Richard Roberts

headshot of Richard Roberts in a tuxedo

Richard Roberts is currently concertmaster of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, and the Bellingham Festival of Music. His career has taken him to several of the country’s best orchestras, including the Minnesota and Cleveland Orchestras. In this interview you will hear stories about how the audition system used to work, and great moments with incredible conductors and orchestras.

Richard Roberts, violin

Richard Roberts is the concertmaster of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and the Bellingham Festival of Music.  Inside the Notes sat down to talk about his life as a young musician, how auditions have changed, and his experiences in the Montreal, Cleveland, and Minnesota Orchestras.

Roberts is currently serving as concertmaster of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, a position he has held since 1982. Prior to his Montreal appointment, for eight years, he was assistant concertmaster of the Cleveland Orchestra under conductor Lorin Maazel.

Richard Roberts with arms crossed on the streets of Japan

Mr. Roberts received his early violin tutelage with the distinguished teacher Norman Carol, and at the age of seventeen, made his debut as soloist with the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra in Lalo’s Symphonie Espagnole with Stanislow Skrowaczewski conducting. He then pursued studies at Indiana University where he studied violin with Josef Gingold, and chamber music with Janos Starker and William Primrose.

Richard Roberts and Erika Block at the WWU library after the taping of Inside the Notes
Richard Roberts with Erika Block after taping Inside the Notes

He has appeared in solo and chamber music recitals in Canada, South America, Australia, the United States, and Europe, as well as performances with the orchestras of Minnesota, Toronto, Detroit, Cleveland, Montreal, and many others. He has performed the entire cycle of Bach’s Sonata and Partitas for violin alone at the Cleveland Institute of Art, and was a frequent lecturer in the Cleveland Orchestra pre-concert lecture series. As a teacher, Richard Roberts has served on the faculties of the University of Minnesota, the Cleveland Institute of Music, and the Conservatoire de Musique du Quebec.


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