John Robertson

photo: Brian T.F. Lee

(Ernest) John Robertson (b. 1943) was born in New Zealand but is a longtime resident of Canada. His secondary school offered music as a full time subject, allowing Robertson to find his footing. Upon leaving school, he went into the insurance business where he spent his working life. Having emigrated to Canada in 1967, he continued to compose on the side. 

Post retirement, he has concentrated on getting his work heard more broadly, now having his compositions played in Canada, Mexico, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Austria, Hungary, and China. In 2014, the Rusé Philharmonic (Bulgaria) gave two performances of his music, and subsequently the State Opera Rusé commissioned an opera from him. Orpheus – a Masque premiered in 2015, with revivals in 2016 and 2017 when it was one of the test pieces in the Blue Danube Opera Conducting competition. A companion piece for Orpheus, Lady Jane — a dance piece with actors — appeared in 2017. A new production of this was staged in Stara Zagora in 2022. 

His output covers most genres and five of his six symphonies have been recorded and released on Navona Records, along with other works including concertos for trumpet and clarinet. He resides in Kingston, Ontario.


London Cello Connection

Release Date: March 10, 2023
Catalog Number: NV6514
21st Century
Eight exceptional composers, eight premiere recordings with a legendary orchestra, and one spectacular soloist: LONDON CELLO CONNECTION is a captivating compendium of contemporary compositions by celebrated cellist Ovidiu Marinescu and the London Symphony Orchestra with conductor Miran Vaupotić. Marinescu’s emotive, lush sound and superb technical command provides the continuous thread throughout the program, from the elegant “Sarabande” by Marvin Lamb to Arthur Gottschalk’s regal “Brunetti Meditations” to the shimmering, pulsing “Soul Dance” of Diane Jones, connecting and contrasting each of these works and others by John Robertson, Katherine Price, Joanna Estelle, L Peter Deutsch, and Keith Kramer. Recorded in June 2022 at the LSO’s St. Luke’s Church, the historic site on London’s Old Street which dates to 1733 and was restored to become home to the orchestra’s recording, community, and music education programs.

Voices of Earth and Air Vol IV

Release Date: September 9, 2022
Catalog Number: NV6465
21st Century
Vocal Music
Navona Records presents VOICES OF EARTH AND AIR VOL IV, a choral celebration of the human commonality we find within music. Featuring the works of six seasoned composers, each piece tells a sentimental story unique to each composer, fitting together like puzzle pieces and demonstrating the connective qualities of the human voice. Brought to life by Prague’s Kühn Choir, these choral works are sure to entrance and entice listeners with flowing tonality and artful text settings that demonstrate the powerful storytelling capabilities that vocal music wields.

Piano Spectrums

Release Date: April 8, 2022
Catalog Number: NV6413
21st Century
Solo Instrumental
Acclaimed pianist Anna Kislitsyna stuns on PIANO SPECTRUMS, a profoundly emotive selection of aesthetic contemporary pieces – and a world-class interpretation ranging from tender filigree to unbridled, seething virtuosity. Ten contemporary composers share their works on this album with an eclectic program, both in terms of styles and subject matters. All the more outstanding, then, is how Kislitsyna scintillates with her wonderful, singing touch and musical sensitivity, effortlessly unifying ten unique voices into an album that is greater than the sum of its parts.

Symphonies No. 4 & 5

Release Date: January 8, 2021
Catalog Number: NV6325
21st Century
In an age accustomed to three-minute pop songs being the norm, does the world need more full-length symphonies? Yes, says New Zealand Canadian John Robertson with his new release, SYMPHONY NO 4 & 5. Like their predecessors, these orchestral works make no sacrifices in terms of scale and style: they aim to be grand, aesthetic compositions, and are intended to be enjoyed as such.


Release Date: April 26, 2019
Catalog Number: NV6223
21st Century
String Orchestra
Characterized by a unique style of instrumentation and experimentation with formality, VIRTUOSITY is the colorful expression of composer John Robertson's symphonic creativity. VIRTUOSITY combines a clarinet and a trumpet concerto, a symphony, and an orchestral fantasy based on a Maori love story – all on one album.

Symphony No. 1

Release Date: July 1, 2018
Catalog Number: NV6167
21st Century
Deeply committed to a beauteous aesthetic, composer John Robertson's second album SYMPHONY NO.1 once more delivers a neoclassical triumph with tremendous potential for repeated listening. This release flaunts an unapologetically exuberant elegance ever-present in the composer's oeuvre. The heart of the album is, of course, Robertson's Symphony No. 1, a three-movement epos which explores the vast realm of classical tonality.

Vallarta Suite

Release Date: August 25, 2017
Catalog Number: NV6117
21st Century
New Zealand born, Canada based composer John Robertson’s album VALLARTA SUITE showcases the continuation of classic orchestral traditions into the present day. The album’s three works testify to Robertson’s flexible compositional voice, which expresses playful, grand, and romantic materials within a welcoming style based on nineteenth century, and early twentieth century precedents. Performed expertly by the Jánaček Philharmonic Orchestra, VALLARTA SUITE is defined by beautiful melodies, confident orchestration, and classic musical forms.