Robert Sheldon (b. Feb 3, 1954) has taught instrumental music in the Florida and Illinois public schools and has served on the faculty at Florida State University where he taught instrumental music education classes, conducting, and directed the university bands. Following seventeen years as Director of Concert Band Publications for Alfred Music, he now maintains an active composition and conducting schedule, regularly accepting commissions for new works. Sheldon received the Bachelor of Music in Music Education from the University of Miami and the Master of Fine Arts in Instrumental Conducting from the University of Florida. In 2020, VanderCook College of Music presented him with an honorary Doctorate in Music Education.
An internationally recognized clinician, his music is performed around the world and frequently appears on many international concert and contest lists. Sheldon has conducted Regional and All-State Honor Bands throughout the United States and abroad. He often appears as a Music Education clinician and has presented sessions and seminars at numerous colleges and universities as well as state Music Education Association conferences. He has served as a conductor and clinician throughout the United States, as well as Japan, Canada, Italy, Taiwan, Germany, Australia and China, and has conducted performances of his works in New York’s Carnegie Hall, Chicago’s Orchestra Hall, Boston’s Symphony Hall, Taipei’s National Concert Hall, Matsumoto’s Seiji Ozawa Performing Arts Center, Hamamatsu’s ACT City Concert Hall, the Sydney Opera House and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C. His teaching career included 28 years in the public schools as well as at the University of Florida, Florida State University, Illinois Central College and Bradley University. He also held positions as conductor of the Alachua County Youth Orchestra in Gainesville, Florida and the Prairie Wind Ensemble in East Peoria, Illinois. He maintains membership in several organizations that promote music and music education, and is lead author for SOUND INNOVATIONS FOR BAND, serving as co-author for MEASURES OF SUCCESS, SOUND INNOVATIONS FOR STRINGS, SOUND SIGHT-READING FOR BAND and MUSIC FUNDATIONS.
His compositions embody a level of expression that resonates with ensembles and audiences alike, and he produces numerous publications for concert band each year. The American School Band Directors Association has honored him with the Volkwein Award for composition and the Stanbury Award for teaching, the International Assembly of Phi Beta Mu honored him with the International Outstanding Bandmaster Award, and he has been awarded membership in the American Bandmasters Association. With over two million copies of his compositions and books sold, he is one of the most performed composers of wind band music today. A twenty-eight-time recipient of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publisher’s Standard Award for his compositions in the concert band and orchestral repertoire, Mr. Sheldon has been the topic of articles published in The Instrumentalist, Teaching Music and School Band and Orchestra Magazine, The World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles (WASBE) World Magazine, and is one of eleven American wind band composers featured in Volume I of Composers on Composing Music for Band.
FBA Legacy Project
VanderCook College of Music - Honorary Doctorate Commencement Speech
FIVE QUESTIONS from Alfred Music
My heartfelt gratitude to some of my fellow composers...
Two of my dear friends (who also happen to be incredibly talented composers) have written pieces that are very special to me. Chris Bernotas dedicated his composition, Finding a Way, (Alfred Music/2015) to me. Randall Standridge wrote The Photo Album, (Alfred Music/2020) which was dedicated to my late partner and me. Both are extraordinary compositions, and I am beyond proud and honored to have had these wonderful friends and colleagues think of me in this way. Please check out these fantastic pieces by clicking on the titles!
A "Blast" from the Past...
I recently came across a video of the Grand Opening Parade at Walt Disney World in 1971 (FIFTY YEARS AGO). I was a senior in high school and was invited to perform as one of the 176 trombone players in the 1,076 piece marching band, reminiscent of Meredith Wilson's finale in the musical, The Music Man. Meredith Wilson was, in fact, our band director for the event, and the drum major was James Christenson, who happened to have a huge influence on my musical career; his Overture Americana was one of the first band pieces that got me "hooked" as a very young band student! As you look at the band emerge from the entrance under the train station (4:45), I can be seen in the 2nd row on the outside left edge of the band, as I was the "right guide" in the direction of the parade route. Since I was near the front, I show up (as a lanky, skinny 17-year old) in a number of the shots (5:15, 5:43, 6:55). I recall how difficult it was to keep that group together, and how we practiced marching up and down "Main Street" all day trying to NOT rush the tempo. But it worked! And at the end of the street we formed a large semi circle and accompanied a full symphony orchestra and a 5000 voice choir singing "When You Wish Upon a Star." Our payment came in a large plastic bag, presented to us as we turned in the overlay and hat we had been provided: a letter from Roy Disney, a letter from Meredith Wilson, and NINE books of admission tickets to Walt Disney World!
The following photos are for promotional use related to a performance with Robert Sheldon. All other uses must receive written consent.