Emorja Roberson is a pianist, composer, and vocalist in classical and gospel music. Roberson graduated from the University of North Florida with a Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance (2013) and Master of Sacred Music in Vocal Performance from the University of Notre Dame (2017).
Throughout his career, he has held lead roles in Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute), The Consul, As You Like It, The Mikado and La Bohème with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra and performed as a soloist in Handel’s Messiah.
In October 2016, he recorded solos on Robert Kry’s, Paradiso: Transformation and Transfiguration and Mass for the Oppressed by Emerson Eads. Throughout his experience in the Sacred Music Program at Notre Dame, Roberson served under the tutelage of Dr. Stephen Lancaster, and has worked with world-renowned soprano, Deborah Voight, Carla Rae Cook, and, J.J. Penna. In 2016, Roberson recorded Christmas at Notre Dame with Grammy Award Winner, Arturo Sandoval, and sang as a soloist on “Frosty The Snowman” with Matthew Kelly.
As of May 2017, Roberson was coined as the first African-American to graduate with a Master of Sacred Music in Vocal Performance from the University of Notre Dame. Currently, Roberson is a student of Dr. Mark Doerries and is the first African-American student in the Doctor of Musical Arts program to study Choral Conducting with a focus in African-American repertoire.
Since January 2016, his compositions have been performed by the South Bend Symphony Orchestra as a contribution to the Martin Luther King, Jr. concert under the direction Dr. Marvin Curtis and Maestro Alastair Willis.
Roberson was the first place winner for the 2018 American Negro Spirituals competition, directed by Dr. J. LanYe’, and performed at Severance Hall in Cleveland, OH. As a doctoral student, Roberson hosted the University of Notre Dame’s first Black History Month concert, which featured artists in jazz, classical, and gospel, and included performers: Callie Day, Isaac Cates, J.J. Wright, and Alex Mansour.
In June 2019, he made his national debut on Season 9 of BET’s Sunday Best competition as a top 20 contestant, and in March 2020, his recent composition, “Seek Ye First” from The Evening Musicale (2019), was featured on Sirius XM 64 (Kirk Franklin’s Praise).
The song was originally composed in May 2019 for a pilgrimage to East Africa with the Notre Dame Folk Choir. Since COVID-19, it has taken on a new meaning and has been used to inspire and provide hope for those who have been affected by the pandemic.
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