Eric Robertson

Eric (Nathan) Robertson. Organist, pianist, composer, record producer, b Edinburgh 6 Apr 1948; ARCT 1966, FRCCO 1969. He studied organ, piano and theory in Edinburgh with E. Francis Thomas, Eric Reid, and William O. Minay before moving in 1963 to Toronto.

Robertson, Eric

Eric (Nathan) Robertson. Organist, pianist, composer, record producer, b Edinburgh 6 Apr 1948; ARCT 1966, FRCCO 1969. He studied organ, piano and theory in Edinburgh with E. Francis Thomas, Eric Reid, and William O. Minay before moving in 1963 to Toronto. There he was a pupil of Charles Peaker (organ) and Samuel Dolin (composition) at the RCMT. He returned annually into the 1990s to Edinburgh for further studies with Minay. In his teens Robertson was music director at St John's Lutheran Church, Toronto, and organist with a local R&B band, the Majestics, establishing early the diversity of activity that he has sustained as a church and studio composer and musician. He has been organist-choirmaster 1966-90 at Humbercrest United Church and, as of 1990, at St. Paul's Anglican Church (Bloor Street), and has been a frequent recitalist on CBC radio.

Robertson's choral works include those with orchestra (Four Songs of Remembrance, 1983, commissioned and recorded by the Orpheus Choir of Toronto, and Another Spring, 1988, commissioned by the Guelph Spring Festival), with jazz group (Jazz Magnificat, 1985, a collaboration with Ward Swingle for the Swingle Singers), with organ (Variations on the 'Sussex Carol', 1986, commissioned for and recorded by the Elmer Iseler Singers), and with clarinet and piano (Prewett in Love, 1988). His organ compositions include solo pieces and works with voice, trumpet and brass. Robertson's compositions follow in the tradition that reaches back through Minay to Ralph Vaughan Williams and Charles Wood.

Robertson had written scores for some 60 films by 1991, including the features A Quiet Day in Belfast (1973), Along These Lines (1974), Spasms (Deathbite) (1981), If You Could See What I Hear and That's My Baby (1982), and Millenium (1989), and such TV movies (CBC, NBC, etc) 1976-90 as Insurance Man from Ingersoll, Gentle Sinners, Shock Trauma, The Cuckoo Bird, Love and Larceny, Island Love Song, Nest of Singing Birds, Skate, The Challengers, The Private Capital, Love and Hate, and Getting Married in Buffalo Jump. He also has written music for the CBC TV series 'Street Legal' (1986-8) and 'Ken Dryden's Home Game' (1989), for the BBC/CTV series 'OWL TV' (beginning in 1989) and for Christmas TV specials starring the Muppets.

Roberston became music director for CBC TV's 'The Tommy Hunter Show' in 1978 and has produced and played on recordings by Liona Boyd, Moe Koffman, Nana Mouskouri, Roger Whittaker, and others. The first of his own Magic Melodies albums, which comprise popular songs and movie themes, sold more than 1.25 million copies internationally, including 300,000 in Canada.


Further Reading

  • Daller, Kate. 'Eric Robertson: romantic fancies, particular pursuits and Magic Melodies,' MSc, 344, Jul-Aug 1985