Robert Dean read music at Durham University before studying singing at the Royal Northern College of Music with John Cameron and then at the National Opera Studio as both singer and répétiteur.
For nine years he sang principal roles with all the major UK opera companies and abroad eventually retiring from singing in 1987 to concentrate on a freelance conducting and teaching career. He was Scottish Opera’s Head of Music from 1989-1993 in which time he also conducted over 100 performances with the company. He has also conducted at Grange Park Opera, Holland Park Opera, English Touring Opera, British Youth Opera, Opera Theatre Company, and with orchestras including The Philharmonia, The Royal Scottish Orchestra, The Royal Philharmonic, The BBC Concert Orchestra, City of London Sinfonia and London Mozart Players. He is a regular guest conductor of opera in Canada where he has returned to conduct every year since 1993.
He was Artistic Director of The Philharmonia Chorus 1998-2008 collaborating with the most famous maestri of the day including Sawallisch, Sinopoli, Gatti, Levine, Rattle, Davis, Muti, Gergiev, Mackerras, Maazel, Dutoit and Dohnanyi. In 2000 he was appointed chorus master for a memorable performance at the BBC Proms of Berlioz’s Grande Messe des Morts conducted by Sir Colin Davis which involved all the students of the Guildhall School and the Paris Conservatoire.
In addition to his teaching work at the Guildhall School, he has also been guest vocal coach at the National Opera Studio, Glyndebourne and at the Royal Danish Academy in Copenhagen. His students have enjoyed great success in the Kathleen Ferrier, Royal Overseas League and Guildhall Gold Medal competitions as well as becoming members of the Jette Parker Programme at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden.