World-renowned Canadian flutist, composer and conductor Robert Aitken has been honoured with the Order of Canada and is a Chevalier de l'ordre des Arts et des Lettres (France). In 1970, having previously served as principal flute for both the Vancouver and Toronto Symphony Orchestras, Aitken embarked on a solo career that has taken him to virtually every corner of the globe. He has more than 70 recordings to his credit and such notables as John Cage, George Crumb, Elliott Carter, Toru Takemitsu, Mauricio Kagel, Roger Reynolds, Toshio Hosokawa, Gilles Tremblay and R. Murray Schafer have dedicated works to him.
In 2003 he was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Flute Association (USA). In 2004, he retired as Professor für Flöte at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik in Freiburg, Germany, a position he had held for 16 years. In 2009 Aitken was the recipient Canada’s largest arts award, the prestigious Walter Carsen Prize for Excellence in the Performing Arts. Robert Aitken has been Artistic Director of Toronto’s New Music Concerts since its inception in 1971.