Robert Trevino has rapidly emerged as one of the most exciting American conductors performing today, as well as one of the most in-demand talents of the younger generation. The past three years have seen his appointments as Music Director of the Basque National Orchestra and Chief Conductor of the Malmo Symphony Orchestra. About those orchestras, he says, “When you spend your life pushing yourself so hard to find truths in music, and then you find players who want exactly the same thing, everything makes sense. And you know that something special is within reach. I have been lucky enough to find that, in different and complementary ways, with both of these special orchestras, and to feel this sense of an extended musical family.”
Trevino burst into the international spotlight at the Bolshoi Theater in December 2013, when he led a new production of Verdi’s Don Carlo, substituting for Vasily Sinaisky. The response was euphoric from both audience and the Russian press, which wrote, “There has not been an American success of this magnitude in Moscow since Van Cliburn.” He was subsequently nominated for a Golden Mask award for “Best Conductor in a New Production”. Appearances with some of the world’s top orchestras swiftly followed in a sensational rise.
‘Overnight successes’, of course, are never really created overnight. Even before his professional debut, Trevino had opted away from the traditional school system in favor of intensively teaching himself every score he could lay his hands on. He soon caught the eye of David Zinman, with whom he studied as an Aspen Conducting Fellow at the Aspen Music Festival And School – where he was awarded the James Conlon Prize for Excellence in Conducting. Immediately afterwards, in 2011, he was the Seiji Ozawa Conducting Fellow at the Tanglewood Music Festival. He was also invited to study with Michael Tilson Thomas at the New World Symphony, and to assist Leif Segerstam (in his acclaimed complete Sibelius Symphony cycle) at the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra. Trevino is also a laureate of the Evgeny Svetlanov International Conducting Competition in France.
He has served as Associate Conductor at the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (2011-2015) and, prior to that, as Associate Conductor to New York City Opera at Lincoln Center (2009-2011).
Recent seasons have seen Trevino crossing continents in an ever-growing number of major debuts – among them the London Symphony Orchestra, Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, London Philharmonic, Tonhalle Zurich, San Francisco Symphony, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Detroit Symphony, Dresden Philharmonic, Sao Paulo Symphony, NHK Symphony, Toronto Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, Vienna Symphony, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Accademia Nazionale Di Santa Cecilia, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Orchestre Nationale de France, Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Helsinki Philharmonic and his first recording, for Decca.
Immediate reinvitations have frequently followed his debuts and his performances are regularly broadcast, including a special profile feature on the Arte Channel. The 2019/20 season sees Robert Trevino lead European tours with the Basque National Orchestra, the Malmo Symphony Orchestra, the RTE Symphony Orchestra and the Antwerp Symphony Orchestra. Debuts include the Orchestre de Paris, the Royal Philharmonic, the Oregon Symphony and, in an emotional visit to his hometown, the Fort Worth Symphony. Return appearances include the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, Sao Paulo Symphony, Vienna Symphony, Bamberg Symphony, SWR Symphony, RAI Torino. On the opera front, he follows the previous season’s Evgeny Onegin in Washington DC, with a much-anticipated Carmen in Zurich.
Magnificent receptions have often greeted his performances. Of a concert with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, Concertnet wrote, “After a majestic interpretation of Dvorak’s Symphony No. 7…(the encores) led the public into rhythmic clapping within the pieces and delirious applause…the enthusiasm, with some almost dancing in their seats, got more and more intense…”. Similarly, the Neue Zurcher Zeitung reported of Trevino’s engagement with the Tonhalle Zurich that, “The first of three performances...cause a storm of enthusiasm among the audience...”
Robert Trevino has commissioned, premiered and worked closely with many of today’s leading composers, among them Augusta Read Thomas, Sir Andre Previn, Jennifer Higdon, Philip Glass, Shulamit Ran and John Zorn.
Says Trevino of his love of making music, "From my earliest years, it was a compulsion, not a choice to sacrifice everything for music and to this day I have that compulsion. People ask me if I want to take a little break – no! I haven’t even scratched the surface of what it is that I hope to find in the music, and when I'm with an orchestra who are right there with me, who don't want to let go of any minute of rehearsal time and love it - and when you have an audience who take that journey with you - well, that's when you know that a life in music is a pretty amazing life." When one encounters Robert Trevino, either in person or by watching him on the podium, one has no doubt what he means.