Robin Fountain


Celebrating his tenth season as Music Director of the Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra (SMSO), Robin Fountain has led a transformational expansion of the orchestra’s repertoire and scope, with the orchestra now boasting a summer series (the Water’s Edge Festival), a new choral partnership (the Citadel/Symphony Chorus), new music education efforts including an El Sistema-inspired program at the Boys and Girls Club, and robust fund raising and audience development efforts that have led to unprecedented levels of growth and visibility.
Prior to his appointment in Michigan Robin Fountain served for fifteen years as Music Director of the Williamsport Symphony in Pennsylvania. During his tenure the orchestra saw consistent artistic growth, the establishment of an endowment, and collaborations with such noted artists as Lorin Hollander, Edgar Meyer, Nathaniel Rosen and Empire Brass. The orchestra received an NEA Challenge America grant for two consecutive years, and Mr. Fountain was honored with the Director’s Chair Award from the Williamsport Community Arts Center, recognizing his impact on the region’s artistic life.

Active as a music educator, Mr. Fountain is Professor of Conducting at Vanderbilt University's Blair School of Music. For his work there he has won both the University-wide Sarratt Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching and the Blair School of Music’s Faculty Excellence Award. He has led the Vanderbilt Orchestra on two acclaimed tours of China, with performances in the Shanghai Oriental Arts Center, the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, and in four other cities. In both Michigan and Tennessee Robin Fountain balances orchestra concerts with extensive work in the opera pit. Recent productions have included Cosi fan Tutte, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Lucy Simon’s A Secret Garden and Sondheim’s Into the Woods.

As a guest conductor Maestro Fountain has led the Jacksonville Symphony, the Pittsburgh Opera Center, the Nashville Symphony, the Wichita Falls Symphony in Texas, the Greeley Philharmonic in Colorado, the Pittsburgh Civic Orchestra, the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, the Altoona Symphony, the Pittsburgh Opera Theater, the Youngstown Symphony and was cover conductor for the Pittsburgh Symphony. Guest engagements abroad have taken him to Germany (the Brandenburg Symphony), France (Orchestre d’Aix Conservatoire and Orchestre de Chambre de la Gironde), Poland (the Opole and Sudecka Philharmonics), Russia (the National Philharmonics of Tomsk and Kemerova) and Spain where he led the Region of Murcia Youth Orchestra. In 2004 he returned to lead the Tomsk National Philharmonic on a tour of China with concerts in An Shang, Shen Yang, Hang Zhu, Ning Bo and Da Lian where it was televised live. He has collaborated with Edgar Meyer in a concert with the String Machine, and in 2012 debuted with the Traverse Symphony in Michigan, where he made a return appearance last year. In 2017 he makes his debut with the Louisiana Philharmonic.

Prior to his tenure in Williamsport Mr. Fountain was Music Director of the Butler Symphony in Pennsylvania, Associate Conductor of the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, Director of Orchestra Programs at Duquesne University, Music Director of the Three Rivers Young Peoples Orchestra and a frequent guest conductor with the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony.

A native of England, Mr. Fountain received his Master of Arts degree from Oxford University, and an additional master's degree from Carnegie Mellon University. He holds a certificate of advanced study from the Royal College of Music, where he was awarded the Theodore Steir and Ricordi Prizes. He continued his studies at the Tanglewood Music Center and the Aspen Music Festival, where he was the recipient of an Aspen Conducting Fellowship. In 2012 he was privileged to have the opportunity to train with members of the famed Berlin Philharmonic at The Conductors Lab in Aix-en-Provence.

Robin Fountain

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