Robert J. Ambrose
Conductor Robert J. Ambrose enjoys a diverse career as a dynamic and engaging musician. His musical interests cross many genres and can be seen in the wide range of professional activities he pursues. Ambrose studied formally at Boston College, Boston University, and Northwestern University, where he received the Doctor of Music degree in conducting.
Ambrose has conducted professionally across the United States as well as in Australia, Canada, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan. His interpretations have earned the enthusiastic praise of many leading composers including Pulitzer Prize winners Leslie Bassett, Michael Colgrass, and John Harbison. He has conducted more than three dozen premiere performances including works by Jean Sibelius, Michael Colgrass, Jonathan Newman, Joel Puckett, Christopher Theofanidis, and Joseph Turrin.
In 2016, Dr. Ambrose was invited to spend ten days on tour as a guest conductor with the United States Army Field Band. Ambrose is the only civilian in history to be invited to guest conduct a premiere American military band on tour. This engagement led to the formation of the National Chamber Winds, a professional wind ensemble based in Washington, D.C. comprising musicians from several of the premiere military bands and for which he is the Founder and Music Director. Ambrose is also the Founder and Music Director of the Atlanta Chamber Winds. Their premiere compact disc, Music from Paris was released on the Albany Records label and received outstanding reviews in both Fanfare Magazine and Gramophone Magazine.
Dr. Ambrose is the Founder and Principal Guest Conductor of the Metropolitan Atlanta Youth Wind Ensemble (MAYWE), a highly-select high school honor ensemble consisting of musicians from throughout the Atlanta area. During his nine-year tenure as Music Director, nearly 1000 high school students participated in the MAYWE program and the ensemble was invited to perform at Carnegie Hall on two occasions.
Dr. Ambrose has developed strong professional ties to the Finnish music community. He is frequently engaged in that country as a guest conductor, teacher, master clinician, and lecturer. Recent guest conducting appearances in Finland include the Finnish Navy Band, the Helsinki Police Band, the STM Summer Music Festival Wind Orchestra, the Rauma Wind Band, and the youth wind bands of Kokkola, Kotka, and Rauma. He has taught conducting workshops in Tampere, Rauma, Kuopio, and Kokkola, and has served as guest lecturer at the Central Ostrobothnian Conservatory in Kokkola and the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki. He is also the Artistic Advisor to the Rauma Youth Wind Band. At home, Ambrose has hosted dozens of Finnish musicians in Atlanta including several composers, conductors, and a Finnish Fulbright scholar. He is currently serving his second term on the Board of Governors for the Scandinavian American Foundation of Georgia.
Ambrose is a prolific arranger with seven published wind band transcriptions to his credit. His arrangements are published by C. Alan Publications, Sannabelle Publications, Fennica Gehrman (Finland), and Edition Tilli (Finland). His transcriptions appear on several state music lists and have been performed around the world.
As a guitarist, Ambrose has performed in dozens of jazz ensembles, combos, rock bands, and pit orchestras. His rock band “Hoochie Suit,” formed with members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, received rave reviews throughout the Chicago area and performed for such distinguished guests as Daniel Barenboim and Yo-Yo Ma.
Ambrose currently serves as Director of Bands, Professor of Music, and Director of Recruitment at Georgia State University, a research institution of over 53,000 students located in Atlanta, Georgia. As Director of Bands he conducts the Symphonic Wind Ensemble, leads the graduate wind conducting program, and oversees a large, comprehensive band program.