Robert Holliday

1985 F. Melius Christiansen Lifetime Achievement Award
Robert Holliday (1908-1994)

Robert Holliday, born in Royalton, MN, graduated from Hamline University with a degree in economics, but music was a very strong influence in his family, of which four of five members were musicians. After several years of teaching in high schools, Holliday became assistant director of the Hamline University Choir in 1938. Four years later he became director and remained there until his retirement in 1971. He also founded the St. Paul Chamber Choir in 1971.

The same year that Holliday became director of the Hamline Choir, Ernst Krenek became chairman of the music department. This association provided the stimulus to perform many twelve-tone works composed by Krenek, and gave Hamline students a unique experience in 20th century vocal music. Works such as Santa Fe Timetable and Cantata for Wartime were premiered by the Hamline Choir and were also performed with the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Dimitri Mitropoulos. The Hamline Choir toured nationally. A highlight of Holliday's long and distinguished career was the 11-week tour of Latin America in 1967, a tour which was sponsored by the U. S. State Department under the Fulbright Cultural Exchange Act.