Born in Haarlem, Holland, Robert studied at St John's College Cambridge, and at the RNCM. Further study took place at the Accademia Solti in Castiglioni with David Syrus, and at the Orkney conducting classes with Martyn Brabbins.
His debut was with Ligeti's Le Grand Macabre, of which he conducted the Australian premiere in 2010 at the Adelaide Festival. Recent appearances have included conducting Madama Butterﬂy and Jonathan Dove The Adventures of Pinocchio (Opera North), Hänsel und Gretel (Opéra de Rouen), Bernstein Wonderful Town (Hallé Orchestra), and the major new community opera Ludd and Isis (Richard Taylor) for the Royal Opera. In Spring 2016 he led a new production of Thomas Adès' Powder her Face for the Royal Danish Opera in Copenhagen, to widespread acclaim.
His career in opera started with guest engagements on the music staff of La Monnaie, Brussels, at ENO in London and at Opera North, at Teatro Colòn, Buenos Aires and the Opéra-Comique de Paris. Since 2012 he has been a regular Studienleiter/Head of Music at Theater an der Wien in Vienna, and he returns for the world premiere of Anno Schreier's Hamlet in the 2016-17 season. In 2014 Robert began a lasting association with the Royal Danish Opera, where he is now the resident conductor. As well as Powder her Face, he has recently conducted Schoenberg concerts of Pierrot Lunaire and the 1. Kammersymphonie with the Royal Danish Orchestra. Another enduring relationship is with the Longborough Festival, where he worked with Anthony Negus on Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen in 2013 and Tristan und Isolde in 2015. Robert's repertoire includes some of the major works of the 20th century (Berg Lulu, Stravinsky Rake's Progress, Schoenberg Erwartung, Ligeti's Le Grand Macabre, Strauss Salome, Frau ohne Schatten, Rosenkavalier) as well as Wagner (Ring, Tristan und Isolde, Lohengrin), Puccini (Tosca, Madama Butterﬂy, Il Trittico) and Berlioz (Damnation de Faust, Béatrice et Bénédict).
His enthusiasm for new music and his ﬂair for improvisation have brought him collaborations with leading composers including Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Jonathan Harvey and Johann Johannsson. He also conducted several baroque music projects for the Yorke Trust, including stagings of Handel Theodora and Rameau Castor et Pollux. Further plans for the coming season include conducting Le nozze di Figaro and Kurt Weill Rise and Fall of the City Mahagonny for the Royal Danish Opera.