Faculty Bio

Robert Osborne

Adjunct Artist in Music

Bass-baritone Robert Osborne has long been an admired favorite on the American orchestral-concert scene, while equally establishing himself as a respected operatic artist. During his eight-city tour of the United States as King George III in Peter Maxwell Davies’ Eight Songs for a Mad King the New York Times headlined him as “A Singer Who Goes All the Way” and hailed his “thrilling performance both vocally and dramatically.” He has performed operas in such venues as Carnegie Hall, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Merkin Hall, Théâtre de l’Odéon in Paris, the Roman Amphitheater in Lyon, Hubble Theatre in Berlin, and Royce Theatre in Los Angeles, while singing major roles in six premiere CD’s for Albany, ECM, Arabesque, Wergo and Koch. He has performed over fifty roles with the Santa Fe Opera; Los Angeles Opera; Singapore Symphony; Houston Grand Opera; Ridge Theater; Mabou Mines; Opera Orchestra of New York; Guthrie Theatre; Vermont Symphony; Concert Royal Baroque Opera; Artek; Vineyard Opera; Rockland Opera; Berkshire Opera; and the Opera Ensemble of New York.  In the musical theatre repertoire, he has appeared in four City Center Encore! productions, in the Bernstein at 70! Gala from Tanglewood, the Tilson Thomas 50th Gala in Miami, and in the BAM Salutes Sondheim Gala.

Highlights of his orchestral engagements have included Bernstein’s Songfest with Leonard Bernstein and the Schleswig-Holstein Festival Orchestra at Moscow’s Tchaikovsky Hall and London’s Royal Albert Hall Proms Concerts; Bernstein’s Songfest with Yo-Yo Ma, Michael Tilson Thomas and the Boston Symphony Orchestra; Mendelssohn’s Elijah with Seiji Ozawa and the Boston Symphony Orchestra; Mozart’s Coronation Mass with the Moscow Virtuosi and Vladimir Spivakov at Avery Fisher Hall; Stravinsky’s Les Noces with the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia; Shostakovich’s Fourteenth Symphony with Boston’s SinfoNova; Shostakovich’s Six Romances on British Verse with the RWCCO Orchestra; Shostakovich’s Eight British and American Folksongs with the Racine Symphony; Foss’s The Prairie with the Brooklyn Philharmonic; Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Pennsylvania Sinfonia Orchestra; Handel’s Messiah with the Corning Philharmonic; Mozart’s Requiem at Carnegie Hall; Dvorak’s Requiem with the Chamber Orchestra of New England; arias and songs with the United States Military Academy Band; Blitzstein and Gershwin songs with the New World Symphony; and Kapilow’s Polar Express and Elijah’s Angel with the Fleet Boston Celebrity Series. He also frequently appears as a soloist with many of the premiere choral groups in the U.S.: Dessoff Choir, Oratorio Society of New York, Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia, Riverside Choral Society, Choral Society of the Hamptons, Tallis Scholars, and Sacred Music in a Sacred Space.

Much of Robert Osborne’s musical life has been devoted to works of the 20th Century. To this end, he has sung on numerous occasions with such cutting edge new music ensembles/venues as the Concertgebouw, Sonic Boom Festival, Music at the Anthology, Newband, counter)induction, Intergalactic Contemporary Ensemble, Boston Musica Viva, Lower Eastside Ensemble, Outer Voices Festival, Yerba Buena Center, Tzadik Festival, Great Day in New York Festival, Lincoln Center Festival, Washington Square Contemporary Music Society, Sacramento’s Festival of New American Music, and the Friends and Enemies of New Music. Composers Aaron Jay Kernis, Tom Cipullo, Jorge Martín, Steven Stucky, Paul Moravec, Tania León, Lee Hyla, George Rochberg, Meredith Monk, John David Earnest, David Leisner, Richard Wilson, Stewart Wallace, Bun Ching Lam, Ryan Dorin, Ushio Torikai, David Soldier, Raphael Mostel, Dean Drummond, Victoria Bond, Ben Yarmolinsky, and Toby Twining have chosen him to debut their compositions.

Mr. Osborne’s list of Festival appearances is lengthy, and includes Tanglewood, Aspen, Schleswig-Holstein, Redwoods, Cape May, Marlboro, Nuits de Fourvière-Lyon, Festival Classico di Linari, Nakamichi Baroque, Pacem in Terris, Altafulla, and Berlin’s USArts Festival.  He served as the artistic director of the Festival de musique de Doissat in southwest France.  He has been a frequent visitor with such chamber organizations as the New World Symphony Chamber Series, New York Chamber Ensemble, Consortium, Perspectives Ensemble, Artek, Violins du Roy, San Francisco’s Magnificat, the Long Island Baroque Ensemble, Hudson Valley Chamber Music Circle, Connecticut Chamber Orchestra, and the Bronx Arts Ensemble.

His operatic recordings include Harry Partch’s The Wayward, Viktor Ullmann’s The Emperor of Atlantis, Hindemith’s Hin und zurück, Meredith Monk’s Atlas, the title role in Richard Wilson’s Aethelred the Unready, and Stewart Wallace’s Kaballah. His solo recordings include Songs of Leo Sowerby, Orchestral Songs of Shostakovich, Songs of John Alden Carpenter, and Songs of Henry Cowell which was hailed by Michael Tilson Thomas in the New York Times as one of the most eagerly anticipated musical events of the season. Chamber music recordings include Aaron Kernis’ Death Fugue, Elias Tanenbaum’s monodrama Last Letters from Stalingrad, Tom Cipullo’s Landscape with Figures, and Frank Martin’s Le vin herbé for Newport Classics which was lauded as Editor’s Choice in the July 2000 Opera News. Other labels include Albany, Arabesque, ECM, Gothic, Innova, Koch, Mercury, Opus One, Pelagos, and Poppy Records. His television appearances have been on the BBC Omnibus Series, Soviet Arts Television, and on the PBS Great Performances broadcast of the Bernstein at 70! Gala from Tanglewood as well as Musical Outsiders: An American Legacy featured at the Louvre and on PBS, German and Austrian television.

Robert Osborne has researched, recorded, and performed extensively the vocal music of John Alden Carpenter, Henry Cowell, Franz Waxman, Leo Sowerby, and Harry Partch. A dedicated singer of art songs, he has presented recitals throughout the United States as well as in France, Spain and Italy. Mr. Osborne was brought up in Washington, D.C. He has served on the faculties of Bennington College, Kean University, and Concordia College.  He is currently a member of the faculties of Vassar College, Columbia University / Barnard College, and Nassau Community College.