Kaestner D. Robertson

1941 - 

Kaestner Robertson, a pianist and organist, is Professor Emeritus of Music at Atlantic Union College, where he taught piano, piano pedagogy, and theory and served at times as chair of the music department from 1980 until its closing in 2011.  He is a frequent recitalist and accompanist and has been featured as a soloist with numerous orchestras.

Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Robertson began formal piano study at age four and organ at age eleven. A piano student of Rita Coore, he won several awards in Jamaica music festivals and became a Licentiate of the Royal Schools of Music in 1959 and a Fellow of the Trinity College in 1960. During this time he also made appearances on radio and TV. He served as chair of the piano department at the Jamaica School of Music before coming to AUC. Many of his former students now enjoy distinguished careers in music.

He came to the United States to study at Boston University, supported by a Jamaica Government Scholarship. While at BU he received prizes in piano performance and music theory and was awarded a scholarship to the Tanglewood Summer Institute. He completed a B.Mus. in 1965, an M.Mus. in 1967, and a D.M.A. in 1991 at BU, all in piano performance. He studied piano with Bela Nagy and organ with Max Miller while at BU.

In 1995 he was soloist in the premiere of Margarita Merriman's Concerto for Piano and Orchestra in a concert presented by the Thayer Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Toshimasa Wada. In addition to appearances in the United States, he has played solo recitals in Canada, France, England, Puerto Rico, Barbados, Trinidad, Bermuda, and the Bahamas.

In September 2011 Robertson presented a recital at the School of Music at the Edna Manley College in Jamaica as it celebrated its 50th anniversary.  The recital featured the music of Bach (transcription by Busoni), Beethoven, and Chopin in the first half and music by Liszt in the last half.  Robertson was both a student and teacher at the school while living in Jamaica and is regarded as one of their distinguished students.

Throughout his career, Robertson has been active in church music, first playing in his family’s Seventh-day Adventist church at age seven and in subsequent years. While residing in Massachusetts he served as Director of Music at the Pilgrim Church in Leominster and more recently as Minister of Music at the First Church of Christ in Suffield, Connecticut.

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Sources: Biographies at numerous websites; The Jamaica, West Indies, Gleaner, 23 September 2011 and 28 September 2011; www.jamaicaobserver.com, 18 Sept 2011; personal knowledge.