FORT PIERCE — The Atlantic Classical Orchestra has announced that Artistic Director and Conductor Stewart Robertson has tendered his resignation from the ACO following the completion of the 2015 Concert Season. Simultaneously, he will discontinue his worldwide conducting activities because of health complications associated with Parkinson’s. The ACO has appointed a committee led by ACO Chairman Ed Lahey to conduct a national search for a new artistic director and conductor.

“While we are deeply saddened by this news, all of us associated with the ACO fully support Stewart’s decision to focus on his health, encouraging him to make it his priority going forward,” said Ed Lahey, chairman of the Atlantic Classical Orchestra. “Since joining the ACO in 2004, Stewart has led the Orchestra to new heights of artistic excellence, captivating audiences with brilliant performances of time-honored classics as well as stimulating commissioned works created by the finest American composers of the younger generation. Although bittersweet, it is an honor to have Stewart’s encore concert season coincide with the ACO’s 25th Anniversary Celebration.”

A native of Glasgow, Scotland, Robertson joined the Orchestra in 2004, bringing international experience from both the opera house and concert hall. Under Robertson, the ACO expanded its programming to include pre-concert lectures, a three-concert Chamber Music Series, and a four-part educational program, Behind the Baton. Robertson’s artistic leadership also produced exciting new collaborations, including one with Miami’s Dranoff International Two Piano Competition. Among his many impressive accomplishments, Robertson directed the ACO and guest artist Elmar Oliviera in The Schumann Violin Concerto, which was recorded live in 2012 at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida. The performance led to the ACO’s first commercial recording, an all-Schumann CD on the Artek label that was released in 2013.

A champion of new music, Robertson has brought innovative works to the operatic stage and concert hall and helped secure a two-year grant from The Rappaport Foundation to create The Rappaport Prize for Music Composition. An expansion of the prior year’s The Commission Project, which featured David Conte’sSinfonietta, the award is designed to recognize promising new American composers. With Robertson’s artistry, audiences experienced two world premieres from Rappaport prize recipients during the 2014 Season: American Vignette by Emmy Award-winning composer Garth Neustadter and Concerto for Clarinet and Chamber Orchestra by Jeffrey Parola.

Earlier this year, the ACO introduced itself to the Palm Beach Gardens community through open dress rehearsals at the Eissey Campus Theatre at Palm Beach State College. Robertson’s music mastery and charming style is credited with the popularity and success of the dress rehearsals, resulting in the ACO’s announcement that it would expand to a third concert venue during the 2015 Season.

“Stewart’s many contributions to the world of classical music and to the ACO, an ensemble whose regional footprint has grown under his baton through increased emphasis on music education, chamber music performances, and expanded programming in Palm Beach County, have clearly established the Orchestra as a cultural gem in our community. We are extremely fortunate to have had two outstanding artistic directors with the vision to successfully lead the ACO through its first 25 years,” said Alan Hopper, president and CEO of the Atlantic Classical Orchestra. “Stewart’s eloquent command of the music was clearly at work during last week’s magnificent Opening Night Master Works concerts.”

“While the decision to withdraw from future conducting activities has been a difficult one, I look forward to continuing to celebrate this very special season with the ACO,” said Robertson. “Afterwards, I fully expect to remain involved in music in a non-performing capacity such as artistic consultancy, development of an online version of my Behind the Baton seminars, and to continue my work with younger composers and conductors.”

The ACO’s 25th Anniversary Season continues with The World of Strauss & Beethoven concerts on Feb. 10, Feb.12, and Feb. 13 in Palm Beach Gardens, Vero Beach, and Stuart, respectively. For more information or to purchase tickets, please call 772.460.0850 or visit