Robert Ponto is the Assistant Dean for Admissions at the University of Oregon School of Music and Dance. Prior to this appointment he served as Director of Bands for 20 years. He has conducted ensembles through the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. His performing ensembles have been featured at the Bang on a Can contemporary music festival in New York, on National Public Radio, Oregon Public Radio, and have appeared regularly at state, regional and national music conferences.
A self-described “musical omnivore,” Ponto is an advocate for original music in all genres and is actively engaged in the creation and performance of new works. He has collaborated with many influential composers including John Adams, Steven Stucky, Michael Daugherty, Gia Kancheli, Frank Ticheli, Scott Lindroth, Augusta Read Thomas, David Crumb, and many others. He conducted the world premiere of Justine F. Chen’s Philomel with soprano Lucy Shelton and a soon-to-be-released recording of David Crumb’s Primordial Fantasy, with pianist Marcantonio Barone.
As an electronic music and sound design hobbyist, Ponto has contributed to unique projects in that genre as well. The contemporary music ensemble, Beta Collide has performed his Postmark Sirius: In Memoriam Karlheinz Stockhausen for trumpet and live electronics, Beta Bacher (for the Oregon Bach Festival’s Bach Remix V), and a digital realization of Stockhausen’s Solo. His sound design work was also used by British pop singer/songwriter Imogen Heap on her song, “Lifeline,” for the album, Sparks.