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Robertson, Leroy J.

 Person

Dates

  • Existence: 1896-1971

Biographical History

Leroy J. Robertson (1896-1971) was a prominent Mormon composer, faculty of the Brigham Young University School of Music, and member of the General Music Committee of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Leroy Robertson was born December 12, 1896, in Fountain Green, Sanpete County, Utah. His passion for music began as a child, and he began teaching himself the violin when he received one as a present from his father. Robertson's formal musical training began in primary school and continued until he graduated from Brigham Young University High School in Provo in 1910. Shortly after becoming a violin instructor in the Utah valley, he was drafted in 1918 for World War I, though he never saw combat. In 1920, he travelled to Boston to study at the New England Conservatory and graduated with honors in June 1923 with diplomas in violin, piano, composition, and public school music. Robertson's professional teaching career soon followed at North Cache High School in 1923, Pleasant Grove High School in 1924, and Brigham Young University in 1925 where the School of Music thrived under Robertson's teaching. In spite of his busy teaching career, he increased his education by completing his BA and MA from BYU in the 1930s, studied with Ernest Bloch in 1930 at the San Fransisco Conservatory, and commenced doctoral studies at the University of Southern California in 1936 with Arnold Schoenberg. Robertson was appointed to the General Music Committee of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1938. In 1948, he finished teaching at BYU and relocated to the University of Utah where he worked with Maurice Abravanel and the Utah Symphony to augment Utah's musical culture, laying the foundations for Opera West, until he was forced to retire in 1962. Leroy Robertson died July 24, 1971, of heart failure.

Citation

Wilson, Marian Robertson. Leroy Robertson: Music Giant from the Rockies. (Salt Lake City, Utah: Blue Ribbon Publications, 1996): p. 6 (b. December 12, 1896 in Fountain Green, Sanpete County, Utah) p. 23 (began teaching himself the violin when he received one as a present from his father) p. 29 (formal musical training began in primary school) p. 36 (graduated from Brigham Young University High School in 1910) p. 37 (becoming a violin instructor in the Utah valley) p. 37 (drafted in 1918 for World War I though never saw combat) p. 39-40 (1920, studied at the New England Conservatory) p. 52 (graduated with honors in June 1923 with diplomas in violin, piano, composition, and public school music) p. 57 (taught at North Cache High School in 1923) p. 63 (taught at Pleasant Grove High School in 1924) p. 67 (taught at Brigham Young University in 1925) p. 85 (BYU School of Music thrived) p. 93 (completed A.B. and M.A. from BYU in 1930's) p. 85 (studied with Ernest Bloch in 1930 at the San Fransisco Conservatory) p. 111 (doctoral studies at the University of Southern California in 1936 with Arnold Schoenberg) p. 271 (appointed to the GMC of LDS Church in 1938) p. 161 (finished teaching at BYU in 1948, relocated to the University of Utah) p. 189 (worked with Maurice Abravanel, Utah Symphony, laid the foundations for Opera West) p. 253-255 (forced to retire in 1962) p. 308-310 (d. July 24, 1971 of heart failure)

Found in 6 Collections and/or Records:

Leroy J. Robertson scores and manuscripts, circa 1930-2007

 Series — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 7768 Series 1
Scope and Contents Contains published scores, manuscripts, and photocopies of important musical works by Leroy Robertson.
Dates: circa 1930-2007

Leroy J. Robertson sound recordings and biography, circa 1930-2007

 Series — oversize: 3
Identifier: MSS 7768 Series 2
Scope and Contents Contains one seven-inch reel tape of "Trilogy," eleven unofficial, non-professional CDs of performances of various works by Robertson, and a type-written draft of Wilson's book "Leroy Robertson: Music Giant from the Rockies" with annotations and markings by the author.
Dates: circa 1930-2007

Oral history interview with Lawrence W. Sardoni

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: UA OH 141
Scope and Contents Interview by Bertrand Harrison with Lawrence Sardoni concerning his childhood, education, and experinces as a professor at Brigham Young University. He elaborates on the Deptarment of Music and his association with LeRoy Robertson. Also talks about Church service. Includes transcript and sound recording.
Dates: 1981

Photograph of LeRoy J. Robertson

 Digital Record
Identifier: UAP2_F139_p139bottomright

Leroy J. Robertson scores and other material

 Collection
Identifier: MSS 7768
Scope and Contents Collection consists of published scores with accompanying manuscripts and/or photocopies of many of Robertson's works, as well as computer-burned sound recordings and a typewritten draft copy of Wilson's book, "Leroy Robertson: Music Giant from the Rockies," with annotations, circa 1930-2007.
Dates: approximately 1930-2007

Leroy Robertson : music giant from the Rockies

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS SC 2887
Scope and Contents Typed copy of the book manuscript, "Leroy Robertson," a noted musical composer, which was written by his daughter. The item describes Robertson's life and works, including his teaching in the music department of Brigham Young University (1925-1948) and the University of Utah (1948-1965) and his involvement with music in the Mormon Church. Also included is a published copy of the book signed by the author.
Dates: 1996