1994 Swan Award Winner: Robert Holmes


holmesRobert Evans Holmes, founder and conductor of the Idyllwild Master Chorale and Orchestra, spent more than fifty years conducting, teaching, influencing and inspiring through his love and enthusiasm for quality music. After obtaining a Bachelor’s degree from Otterbein College in Westerville, Ohio, and a Master’s of Music degree from the University of Michigan, he began a long list of achievements in music education at three posts in Ohio – Cleveland, Chillicothe and Dayton; and Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. Relocating to California in 1946, Bob became director of music at Hollywood High School. At the same time he supervised student teachers at the University Southern California where he became involved with the Idyllwild School of Music and the Arts (ISOMATA), founders Max and Bee Krone.

Bob Holmes brought experience gained attending Interlochen Music Camp in Michigan and became a co-founder and conductor of the ISOMATA Festival Choirs and Orchestras in 1957.

During 1960 he moved from Hollywood High School to Beverly Hills High School. His choirs and madrigal singers became internationally known and in 1967 he won the Reader’s Digest Award for “Contribution to International Understanding Through Music.” Bob was past president of the Southern California Vocal Association and the Western Division of the Music Educator National Conference.

As a guest conductor he conducted festivals throughout the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Australia. In 1983, ISOMATA, now known as Idyllwild Arts, dedicated a new facility he had promoted as the Robert Evans Holmes Amphitheatre. During 1988 he was presented a Special Achievement award from his alma mater, Otterbein College, for a lifetime achievement which brings honor to the school. He received the prestigious Howard Swan Life Achievement Award from the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) and the life achievement award from the Music Educator National Conference.