Robert Armbruster

Robert Armbruster (October 9, 1897 – June 20, 1994) was born John Robert Sommers Armbruster in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. An American composer, conductor, pianist and songwriter, he also recorded piano rolls under the pseudonyms of: Henri Bergman, Edwin Gabriel, Robert Romayne, Robert Summers.[1]

Robert Armbruster
BornOctober 9, 1897
DiedJune 20, 1994
OccupationComposer, conductor, and pianist

After studying with Constantin von Sternberg he became a concert pianist, then branched out into conducting and a composing for radio, then television and film. He debuted as a pianist with the Philadelphia Orchestra at the age of eight. In his teenage years, he started recording piano rolls for the Aeolian Company's Duo-Art reproducing pianos and turned out hundreds of classical and salon-type performances for them. He attracted particular notice as orchestra leader of The Voice of Firestone, the songs "Cuddle Up" and "High Barbaree" and his compositions "Western Ballet" and "Variations in Miniature on Chopsticks".

During the 1940s, Armbruster was the conductor of the NBC Hollywood Orchestra for many charitable specials.

In 1948, Armbruster was musical director, conductor and solo pianist for the Kraft Music Hall program starring Nelson Eddy. A fine pianist, he was featured each week in classical piano solos. The program had an excellent orchestra of about 35. Regular arrangers included Billy May and Nelson Riddle. In the sixties, Armbruster was head of the music department at MGM Studios.

He died in Santa Monica, California on June 20, 1994.[2]


  1. The Billings Rollography: Pianists Ginny Billings, Bob Billings - 1990 p36 "Henri Bergman, Edwin Gabriel, Robert Romayne, Robert Summers (Rolls listed under pseudonyms) Robert Armbruster was born in Philadelphia in 1896, and received his ..."
  2. "Robert Armbruster; Conductor, Composer." Los Angeles, California: Los Angeles Times, June 25, 1994.
  • DeLong, Thomas A. (1996). Radio Stars: An Illustrated Biographical Dictionary of 953 Performers, 1920 through 1960. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, Inc. p. 15, entry 36.
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