Dr. Sandra Robertson

Dr. Sandra Robertson
First Name: 
Dr. Sandra
Last Name: 

Sandra Lee Robertson was Born May 2, 1940 in Harrisonburg, Va. to Marvin Alton Robertson and Elouise Whitmore Robertson. Her Father worked for The war/Manpower Commission. Her mother worked as a secretary and taught typing at Madison College. A sister, Bonnie Lynn, was born in 1945. In 1947 the family moved to Roanoke, Va. where her father was founder and CEO of Rusco Window Company. Her Mother was active in civic, church and arts organizations. In 1949, a brother, Alton Wayne was born.

In high school Sandra participated in dance, drama and music, becoming president of the student music club, the Thespians and her sorority. Sandra played Bernadette in The Song of Bernadette and leading roles in two oneact plays. She also served as a student director. At 16 years of age Sandra got her first taste of the "working world", spending a summer working in the venetian blind factory at her father's company. Before high school graduation Sandra played a solo senior piano recital.

In 1958 Sandra entered the Oberlin Conservatory of Music as a performance major in piano, studying with Beryl Ladd. The summer of her freshman year, Sandra performed as a dancer in the outdoor drama Thy Kingdom Come. In 1960, she studied at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria with the Mozart expert, Kurt Neumuller. While in Europe she traveled to France, Germany, England, Switzerland, Denmark, Holland, Lebanon, Yugoslavia, Greece, Jordan, and Egypt. Her fine arts professor took their class to Italy, where he made the arts come alive for them. They attended an audience with Pope John the 23rd, where Oberlin students sang for him. Sandra graduated from the Oberlin Conservatory in 1962 with a Bachelor of Music degree in piano performance.

After graduating Sandra returned to Roanoke to teach in the precollege department of Hollins where she earned enough money to begin graduate school and buy her first car, a 1952 Buick. She performed concerts at Hollins College and the Roanoke Fine Arts Festival. She also played for a silent film series. She joined Showtimers, an amateur theatrical group and played Helen's mother in The Miracle Worker, the story of Helen Keller.

In 1964, Sandra began graduate studies at Indiana University as a piano performance major, studying with Menahem Pressler, founder of the Beux Arts Trio. She graduated from Indiana in 1966 with a Master's degree in performance and joined the faculty at Stratford College in Danville, VA where she taught piano, theory and music history. She realized a life long dream in 1968 when she performed Schumann's Concerto in a minor as guest soloist with the Roanoke Symphony.

In 1968 Sandra joined the faculty of Southern Seminary in Buena Vista, VA. In 1969 Appalachian State University sought her and she joined the faculty where she taught undergraduate and graduate students. Over the years her students were chosen as winners and finalists for the concertoaria competition. One student was selected as the keyboard representative in the honors recital series.

Sandra was awarded Pi Kappa Lambda and was a patroness of Sigma Alpha Iota. She is also a member of The Liszt Society and the North Carolina Music Teacher's Association. In 1971 she studied with Dr. Bela BoszormenyiNagy at Boston University and continued to receive his coaching until 1988. In 1988 Sandra sadly also lost her father. After her mother died in 1974 Sandra began work on a doctorate degree at Florida State University, where she received the highest music entrance scores. At Florida State she studied piano with Karyl Louwenaar. In 1975 she returned to Appalachian to resume teaching.

While teaching at Appalachian she performed with the Appalachian orchestra including Rhapsody in Blue, Gershwin; Concerto in A minor, Grieg; Concerto No. 2, Rachmaninoff; Two piano Concerto, Poulenc; and Three Piano Concerto, Mozart. She played for and with faculty members and students, especially for Dr. Harold McKinney, whom she enjoyed accompanying for many years.

Sandra gave guest concerts at numerous colleges and music organizations. A highlight was her performance in the distinguished first American Liszt Festival as accompanist for Kay Kraft. Sandra received reviews praising her "extremely sensitive manner."

Over the years Sandra adjudicated the Concertoaria competition, the Fletcher competition, North Carolina Music Teacher's Association college division and various music club competitions in North Carolina. As faculty Emeritus of Music, Sandra continues to be involved with Appalachian, once traveling with present and past faculty members Bair Shagdaran and Allen Kindt to judge piano students in South Carolina. Sandra's brother Wayne died in 2002. In retirement Sandra enjoys private teaching, performing, travel, her sister Bonnie and her family and many former students and close friends.