Ken Roberts Picture


Ken was born in Hastings and educated at Hastings Grammar School and York University. He studied conducting with George Hurst, Adrian Leaper and Graham Treacher. He embarked on a career in teaching, when he had a number of works performed at home and abroad, including three Medieval Carols performed at the Eighth International Choral Festival at Vaison-la-Romaine; Five Chinese Poems 1978; Mass, performed at the St Leonards Festival; and Embers' - a schools jazz-rock opera (1983). He conducted Hastings Opera, Faversham Philharmonic Society, Sittingbourne Orpheus Choir, York University Choir and Orchestra, York University Chamber Choir, York University Gilbert & Sullivan Society, The Essenden Consort , Sussex Concert Orchestra, 'Entr'acte, Hastings Opera, and First Act Opera International. His performance has been with many distinguished singers including Benjamin Luxon, Pauline Tinsley, John Hudson, Fiona O'Neill and Dennis Wicks. He has played twice for the Prime Minister and Mrs Major including a performance of 'Rhapsody in Blue' and has played his 'Mikado Rag' live on 'Classic fM'. He appears all around the country with his series of Lecture Recitals from Mozart to Jelly Roll Morton. Ken's arranging skills in making opera with orchestra available to a wider audience have not gone unnoticed. Collaboration with the Brandenburg Chamber Orchestra has produced critical support for his opera score reductions for six to twenty players. Operas presented in this style include Cosi fan tutte, La traviata, Madama Butterfly, Il nozze di Figaro, Il barbiere di Siviglia, Carmen, Don Giovanni, La Bohème, Die Fledermaus, Don Pasquale and extracts range from grand opera through to contemporary musicals. In 1992 his new opera Quel Weekend, about the twinning of English and French towns, received its successful première and extracts have now been heard on National Radio. His Mister Butterfly received critical acclaim and his diverse talent and ability to link tunes to both contemporary and historical settings has led to his support by the Canadian Government in writing a new opera covering the life of Colonel By. The Duke of Wellington features in the Opera and the current Duke has indicated his interest in the project.