Robert Stephenson joined the Utah Symphony Orchestra in 1980. He has served as Principal Oboe under Music Directors Varujan Kojian, Joseph Silverstein, Keith Lockhart and Thierry Fischer. He has twice been a member of the Utah Symphony Music Director Search Committee and the orchestra’s Artistic Committee. Prior to coming to Salt Lake City, Mr. Stephenson played Principal Oboe for three years with the Savannah Symphony and Georgia Chamber Orchestra under Christian Badea. He is a graduate of the Interlochen Arts Academy and the Curtis Institute of Music.
Originally from Ann Arbor, Michigan, Mr. Stephenson has performed at the National Music Camp (Interlochen, MI), the Academy of the West with Maurice Abravanel, the Spoleto Festival in Italy and Charleston, SC and Tanglewood. He has also played at festivals across the nation such as the Blossom Music Festival, the Grand Teton Music Festival, the Elkhorn Music Festival (Sun Valley, Idaho), the Temple University Music Festival, The Park City Music Festival and the Deer Valley Music Festival. He has been on the faculty at the Symphony School of America, the University of Utah, the Aspen Music Festival and the Sequoia Chamber Music Workshop.
The Southern Music Company publishes his “Twinkle Variations” for solo oboe and Jeanne, Inc. is the publisher for both his “40 New Melodic and Technical Etudes” and “Dance Etudes” for oboe or saxophone. Versions of Dance Etudes will also be made available for flute and for bassoon in 2011. Mr. Stephenson has often appeared as soloist, having performed concertos by Bach, Barlow, Barbirolli, Bellini, Telemann, Handel, Haydn, Cimarosa, Vivaldi, Albinoni, Mozart, Salieri, Corigliano, Strauss, Rimsky Korsakov and Vaughan Williams and in July, 2008, the new oboe concerto by Thom Ritter George at the International Double Reed Society Convention in Utah. Robert performs often with the woodwind quartet, “Three Fish and a Scorpion”.
He teaches privately and at the University of Utah, makes and sells a lot of high-altitude oboe and English horn reeds and enjoys being the father of three bright and beautiful future taxpayers. He is married to flutist Lisa Byrnes. He likes to spend time exercising, making ceramics, watching PBS and listening to NPR, cooking, going out to restaurants, watching good movies, renovating an old house and travelling.