In obtaining a Bachelor of Arts in Music History and German Literature from Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon, Chris Roberts received formal training in classical piano. As a graduate student in Musicology at the University of Illinois, Mr. Roberts was able to travel to Europe, where he composed and produced music for German television, film, and commercial media.
Chris Roberts returned to the United States to work for PolyGram Records in its Marketing Department. Achieving success as a Product Manager for PolyGram’s pop divisions, Mr. Roberts helped artists including Bon Jovi, the Scorpions, and Vanessa Williams achieve international stardom.
Through his accomplishments with pop and rock talent, Chris Roberts was able to move into the oversight of classical and jazz performers. In 1994, Mr. Roberts became head of PolyGram’s Classics and Jazz Division, signing Chris Botti, Wayne Shorter, and John Scofield to the company’s Verve imprint. Mr. Roberts’ success with Verve returned the label to the forefront of the jazz recording industry.
After Universal Music Group’s takeover of PolyGram Records, Chris Roberts became President of the merged company’s International Classics and Jazz Division. Representing legendary recording labels such as Deutsche Grammophon, ECM, Decca, and Philips, Mr. Roberts helped reestablish Deutsche Grammophon as the premier classical label in the marketplace. Adding to the Decca label’s noteworthy stable of opera recordings, Chris Roberts created a new Broadway imprint, releasing soundtracks and original cast recordings for popular musicals, including Mamma Mia!, Wicked, and Monty Python’s Spamalot.
As Universal Music Group faced economic challenges from the proliferation of online music sharing and downloading, Chris Roberts helped steward the company into the 21st century by building the iClassics and DG Web Shop for direct-to-consumer offerings. Additionally, Mr. Roberts recognized the advantages of diversifying the company’s revenue streams by adding concert promotion and artist management divisions to Universal Music Group’s business platform.
In 2010, Chris Roberts left Universal Music Group to establish a private advisory group, Robisong Consultants. Working with a wide variety of classical artists, Mr. Roberts remains an innovative force in the music business.