Robert Henderson's remarkably productive career began before he reached college age and has expanded without pause since then. He was three years old when his father gave him his first violin lessons. When he reached his teens he added piano and horn to the instruments he played, and began studying composition and theory with Donal Michalsky. By the time he entered the University of Southern California he had begun receiving prizes for his compositions; he augmented his studies at USC with private lessons in composition and conducting from Ingolf Dahl, and began his conducting career as associate conductor of the Idyllwild Music Festival Orchestra and the Young Musicians Foundation Orchestra.

When he was 15, the latter orchestra performed his Orchestral Variations under Michael Tilson Thomas, following the YMF Foundation's presentation of its Composer's Prize to him for that work. At 17 Mr. Henderson received the BMI Student Composer Award for three of his compositions, among them his Variation Movements for Solo Trumpet, which swiftly took its place in the international repertory and by now has been recorded four times.

Also while still in his teens, Mr. Henderson began performing as a horn player. He took part in some of Igor Stravinsky's last recordings of his own works and subsequently performed in more than three thousand sound tracks for movies and television. Away from Hollywood, he performed with major orchestras in England and the United States, and began to expand his activity as a conductor. In 1979 he was named associate conductor of the Utah Symphony Orhcestra, and two years later he became music director of the Arkansas Symphony. Since then he has conducted the principal orchestras of Iceland and Chile, and more than 35 orchestras in our own country.

Several of Mr. Henderson's works have been featured in international festivals and competitions, and several have been recorded. Prominent among them are his Fanfare for Eight Horns, composed for the Los Angeles Horn Club; another Fanfare, recorded by the brass section of the Los Angeles Philharmonic; a Capriccio for chamber ensemble; the full-orchestra Momentum; and Tangoed Web, for small ensemble.


Club Oberon in Harvard Square | June 7, 2010