After 31 successful years bringing fine vocal and choral music to all of Canada as Executive Producer of Opera and Choral Music for CBC Radio Two, Mr. Cooper now pursues a full-time conducting schedule. One of Canada’s foremost choral musicians, Robert Cooper is also Artistic Director of the Orpheus Choir of Toronto, and the Opera in Concert Chorus. He is formerly the Artistic Director of the Ontario Male Chorus. He taught for several years as a member of the Choral Department, Faculty of Music, University of Toronto and has had the honor of conducting the National Youth Choir of Canada, the Ontario Youth Choir (1979, 2007) and a Celebration of Canadian Choral Music at Carnegie Hall. A superb choral trainer and conductor, Mr. Cooper has provided strong artistic mentoring young singers in the Toronto Mendelssohn Youth Choir as well as the Orpheus Choir Sidgwick Scholars Program, influencing over 2000 young adult singers. In addition to his work with choirs, Mr. Cooper has been involved with presenting more than 100 operas and has conducted symphony orchestras in Halifax, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Orchestra London, opera companies in Victoria, Ottawa and Winnipeg as well as Toronto Operetta Theatre and Opera in Concert. Mr. Cooper has also guest conducted several Canadian choirs, as well as guest engagements at Festival 500, Kathaumixw, Festival of the Sound, Stratford, Guelph and Algoma Festivals, and Thirteen Strings. Acknowledged as an innovative programmer, Mr. Cooper has commissioned and premiered many new works by both Canadian and international composers.
Mr. Cooper has prepared choruses for many international conductors including Helmuth Rilling, the late Sir David Willcocks, John Rutter, Sir Andrew Davis, Charles Dutoit, and the late Robert Shaw and Elmer Iseler. As well as having been a regular member of the Jury for the international choral competition Let the Peoples Sing, he adjudicated the World Choral Games in Shaoxing, China (2010), Cincinnati, USA (2012) and in Tshwane, South Africa (2018).
He has served as President of both the Ontario Choral Federation and the Association of Canadian Choral Conductors, sat on the Board of Directors of Chorus America, is currently on the Advisory Board of the International Federation of Choral Music and is a member of the World Choral Council. Awarded the St. Catharines’ Trillium Arts Award for excellence in the arts, Robert Cooper is also the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate from Brock University, the Order of Canada and the Queen’s Jubilee Medal for his significant contribution to the Canadian choral community.