ROBERT GEARY, founder of Volti and the internationally acclaimed Piedmont East Bay Children’s Choirs, also holds directorial positions with the San Francisco Choral Society and the Golden Gate International Children’s Choral Festival. For fourteen years, Geary was the director of the Baroque Choral Guild, and served for thirteen years as the Music Director of the First Unitarian Universalist Church in San Francisco.
A champion of contemporary music, Geary and his choirs have won numerous international and national awards. Among Volti’s honors are ASCAP’s award for “Adventurous Programming of Contemporary Music” in 2009, 2007, 2005, 2002, 1998 and 1995. The Piedmont East Bay Children’s Choirs won three gold prizes and a coveted first prize for Contemporary Music at the Choral Olympics in Linz, Austria (July, 2000), the grand prize at the Miedzyzdroje Choral Festival in Poland (July, 1998), gold medal at the Giessen (Germany) International Children’s and Youth Choir Festival (1997, and where Geary received a special award for “Outstanding Conductorial Achievement”), two gold medals a silver medal and the “Best of the Choirs” award at the Des Moines International Children’s Choral Festival (1997), and first prize for Contemporary Music at the Kathaumixw Festival in British Columbia in 1996 and 1992. Geary was awarded the International Peace Child Medal for his role as co-founder of the Golden Gate International Children’s Choral Festival (1993) and he was named Music Educator of the Year by KDFC radio in 2002. Geary’s choirs have performed throughout North America, Europe, the United Kingdom, Scandinavia, Russia, and the Far East. His choirs have been selected to perform for Chorus America and the American Choral Directors Association, and have performed for radio, television, opera, symphony, and music festivals nationally and internationally. Geary also has prepared his choirs for some of the world’s leading conductors, including Helmuth Rilling, Robert Shaw, Kurt Herbert Adler, Edo de Waart, Krzysztof Penderecki, Herbert Blomstedt, Dale Warland and Kent Nagano.
His choirs have been recorded by Harmonia Mundi, Koch International and Swiss International Radio and Innova. In 1998, Geary served on the California Arts Commission’s Panel to evaluate the artistic merit of those organizations submitting grant applications under the Music- Presenters/ Festivals/ Training Program category. In June, 1999, Geary was chosen to judge the Jyvdskyld International Children’s Choir festival in Helsinki. As one of only three judges from around the world, Geary joined esteemed composer Pekka Kostiainen and Erkii Pohjola, conductor of the renowned Tapiola Children’s Choir.
Geary earned degrees in Political Science, Music Theory and Composition and, as a student of Howard Swan, Choral Conducting.