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Image for Robert Shaw

Robert Shaw

Robert Shaw (conductor, born April 30, 1916, Red Bluff, California; died January 25, 1999) Four decades ago, the great--and not easily pleased--Italian conductor Arturo Toscanini was conducting Beethoven's Ninth Symphony with his NBC Symphony Orchestra. After hearing the chorus, which had been prepared by Robert Shaw, perform the glorious choral movement that ends the symphony, Toscanini turned to his players and said, "In Robert Shaw I have at last found the maestro I have been looking for." And in Robert Shaw the art of choral conducting in this country had found its genius. For more than half a century he set the standard of excellence for choral music, enjoying a status of patriarch of vocal musical interpretation. His first major honor came as early as 1943 from the National Association of Composers and Conductors which cited him as "America's greatest choral conductor.