In 2003, my friend and colleague at UT Austin, David Small, introduced me to Robert. I had recently moved back to the U.S. after a decade in opera in Germany. A few months later, Dr. Larsen personally called to offer me a job on music staff with the summer festival; and, two years later, the co-directorship of the AAP, where I worked closely with then Artistic Administrator Michael Egel. Part of my family was from Iowa, and each May felt like a homecoming. I have been forever grateful to Robert for bringing me into the fold of a great organization with great people. I visited him each summer after his retirement, but my favorite recent memory was a dinner invitation in 2017, which provided a rare chance for us to talk one-on-one at length and for me to express my gratitude.

Dear Robert, you were class and artistic passion personified, and a teacher to us all.

– David Neely