The Music Director/Conductor
Kay George Roberts is the founder and music director of the New England Orchestra (NEO).Her guest conducting engagements have included the Cleveland Orchestra, the Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, and Nashville Symphony orchestras as well as the Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana. She has served as a cover conductor for the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra and Detroit Symphony Orchestra. In addition, she is the principal conductor for Opera North, Inc. in Philadelphia.
Ms. Roberts, an accomplished violinist, is the first woman to earn the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in conducting from Yale University where she studied with Otto-Werner Mueller. She also studied conducting at Tanglewood with Leonard Bernstein, Gustav Meier and Seiji Ozawa, and at the Bachakademie Stuttgart with Sir John Eliot Gardiner.
An advocate for new and overlooked music, critics admire her "precision and passion" in leading audiences "to make new discoveries.” She premiered Jennifer Higdon's Fanfare Ritmico at the Blossom Music Festival with the Cleveland Orchestra and was co-conductor for the highly acclaimed 2004 Sphinx Inaugural Gala Concert in Carnegie Hall. In 2007, she led the Sphinx Symphony in the world premiere of Michael Abels’ Delights and Dances in Detroit’s Orchestra Hall to celebrate the Sphinx Competition’s 10th anniversary.
A champion of music education, she is the founder and director of the UML String Project, a community outreach string training program for Lowell public school children, and of the newly formed Lowell Youth Orchestra (LYO).
The recipient of many honors, Ms. Roberts was awarded a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition from the U.S. House of Representatives for her "outstanding and invaluable service to the community" and was named a University of Michigan Presidential Professor - “one of the highest honors bestowed on visiting artists and scholars” - for her work with the Sphinx Symphony. She received the 2007 University of Massachusetts “President’s Public Service Award” in recognition of exemplary public service to the Commonwealth.
In 2009, Ms. Roberts was recognized as "Woman of the Year" by Girls Incorporated of Greater Lowell and was named the first recipient of the Nancy Donahue Endowed Professorship in the Arts.