Robbert van Steijn studied piano at the Utrecht Conservatoire with Håkon Austbö, gaining his Masters degree in music performance in 1990. During his studies he participated in masterclasses with Rosalyn Tureck, Peter Feuchtwanger and Claude Helffer. In 1994 he was engaged as solorepetiteur at the Anhaltlisches Theater in Dessau. He also worked regularly with the Luce Foundation, with whom he performed many times as soloist the luce part in Scriabin’s Prometheus, most notably with The Hague Philharmonic and the Bergen Symphony at the Bergen Festival in 1998.
In 1994, Robbert began his studies in orchestral conducting with Jan Stulen whilst working in Dessau, and completed his studies in 1997 with Roland Kieft and Kenneth Montgomery at the Sweelinck Conservatoire in Amsterdam. He worked under Günter Wand in Hamburg, Amsterdam and Bamberg, and twice participated in the well-renowned conducted courses given by George Hurst in England. In 1997 he made his conducting debut at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam with Schumann’s Second Symphony. That same year he became principal conductor of the Hoofdstad Operette in Amsterdam, a collaboration that lasted until 2000. Since that time he has worked as conductor, assistant conductor and chorus master for numerous productions, most notably by the The Netherlands Opera and the Nationale Reisopera (Dutch National Touring Opera), where he has worked on operas by Handel, Mozart, Beethoven, Weber, Berlioz, Henze, Puccini, Debussy, Verdi, Humperdinck, Strauss and Wagner. Robbert now has more than 40 operas, operettas and musicals in his repertoire. He has also conducted many musicals, not only in the Netherlands but also in Germany, where he conducted the national tour of Beauty and the Beast. He was engaged by Van den Ende Theatre Productions to conduct the national tours of Titanic and The Sound of Music, and in 2008 as principal conductor for their production of Sunset Boulevard.
Alongside his work in theatre, Robbert has built up an extensive repertoire in symphonic and contemporary music. He has conducted, among others, the Helios Ensemble, Florilegium Musicum and the Atlas Ensemble (where he was assistant conductor during the Holland Festival in 2004), and conducted the Nieuw Ensemble during the Aestonishing Music Festival in premieres of works by Toivo Tulev and Helena Tulve. He has conducted the Netherlands Symphony and North Netherlands Symphony Orchestra, conducting among other works the Dutch premiere of Xenakis’ Dämmerschein. In 2006 he returned to conduct the Nieuw Ensemble and the Atlas Ensemble in several premieres, including the theatre production of Layla and Majnun by Rokus de Groot, and was principal conductor for the successful opera Bestevaer by Douwe Eisenga for Zeelandia Productions. In October 2008 he conducted a performance of Verdi’s Macbeth at the Concertgebouw that received glowing reviews, and finished a successful tour of Montsalvatge’s El Gato con Botas with Opera Trionfo. In 2010 he returned to the Concertgebouw with a performance of Verdi’s Nabucco, which again was highly acclaimed.
Robbert’s recent engagements include work with the Netherlands Opera, International Opera Productions, RBO Sinfonia, Netherlands Symphony Orchestra, the Limburg Symphony Orchestra, the North Netherlands Symphony Orchestra, the Bayreuth Festival 2011 and the Nationale Reisopera, to conduct the revival of their highly successful production of La Traviata.
Robbert holds a position as Kapellmeister at the Theater, Oper und Orchester Halle. He will conduct the premières of Hänsel und Gretel, the musical Young Frankenstein, the ballet Phantom der Oper with music by Chopin, Nyman and Glazunov as well as the première of Pique Dame in 2014 and several concerts with the Staatskapelle Halle in symphonic repertoire.