Robert W. Butts, Conductor and Music Director, the Baroque Orchestra of New Jersey

Meet Maestro Robert Butts, whose creative energies are a driving force behind the Baroque Orchestra of New Jersey.

Conductor and Music Director Robert Butts is the founder of the The Baroque Orchestra of New Jersey.  He has led the Orchestra's development from a Baroque ensemble to an orchestra that plays a wide variety of the classical and operatic musical repertoire from all periods.  Since 2006 he has been the Artistic Director of the BONJ Summer Music Festival held in Madison, New Jersey every August.  In recent years, Maestro Butts has led the orchestra in acclaimed premieres of major 21st century compositions.

Maestro Butts has won several awards for his work with BONJ and in collaborations with other ensembles.   He has been a multiple nominee and award-winner of The American Prize  for conducting excellence in both the orchestra and opera fields.       Please enjoy a few highlights from a performance of Mozart's The Magic Flute, one of the productions for which he was recognized.    In 2011, Maestro Butts was awarded The American Prize Citation for Outreach and Music Education.

Other conducting appearances have included performances featuring The New Jersey Symphony, The Plainfield Symphony, The Society of Musical Arts Orchestra, Harmonium Choral Society, the Oratorio Singers and the Masterwork Chorus. Maestro Butts has been a regular guest conductor with orchestra and opera companies in Eastern Europe.   On March 7, 2015, Maestro Butts made his debut in Italy conducting Pergolesi's La Serva Padrona as well as his own compositions.

Lecturer and Educator

Dr. Butts is also a popular lecturer throughout New Jersey on a variety of musical topics. He currently teaches at The Casperson School for Graduate Studies at Drew University,  Montclair State University and at The College of Saint Elizabeth, and has taught at Fairleigh Dickinson University and the County College of Morris. He has presented special talks for New Jersey State Opera, The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, The State Theater, NJPAC and at libraries, retirement communities and museums across the state.   With BONJ, he has developed the innovative television series Concerts and Conversations  He lectures frequently for the New Jersey Council for the Humanities

Maestro Butts has presented scholarly papers at conferences of The American Musicological Society, The American Byron Society, The Sonneck Society and The Country Music Conference.   He has sat on opera education panels at the Metropolitan Opera.

Now you can enjoy the excitement of Concerts and Conversations with Dr. Butts in your home!    He has recently developed a series of courses and individual lectures that can be designed to fit your needs and interests.   Before attending the next performance of Wagner's Ring Cycle, enjoy an in-depth discussion with excerpts on an evening of your choosing.  Or enjoy a series on the history of bel canto opera with your friends on a series of Wednesday mornings.   Or explore the music of Mozart with your family on Sunday evenings.   Please visit his website for further information on enjoying this exciting series in the comfort of your home at a time that works for you.

On Television

Combining his conducting and lecturing talents, Maestro Butts has developed a series for cable television broadcast entitled "Concerts and Conversations". These programs include a lecture on a specific composition with audio/video excerpts, followed by a complete performance.


Maestro Butts has composed several major compositions that have been critically accliamed and popualr with audiences.   In April, he premiered his Symphony #1, a commission from the Plaut Family.    His other orchestra works have included Suite for a Mid-Winter Afternoon and Conceto for Bassoon and Strings.    His theater compositions have included incidental music, operas, and musical theater.   Among his most popular have been Mark Twain and the General (a chamber opera set to a libretto by New Jersey playwright Jewel Seehaus-Fisher), A Night in the Wilde Wild West (Broadway type music/lyrics for songs to a book by Jewel Seehaus-Fisher about Oscar Wilde in Colorado), and two adaptations of works of Edgar Allen Poe - The Tell-Tale Heart and The Cask of Amontillado.   He has also composed much chamber music and song settings.   His operas Mark Twain and the General and The Cask of Amontillado were performed at The National Opera Center in New York City.

For more information about Maestro Butts, you are invited to visit his website.

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