Pamela Roberts grew up in Tacoma, Washington where she began her cello studies at the age of 11. Her talent on the instrument was immediately recognized and she received generous support to develop her musicianship – most notably through local universities (PLU and UPS), the Tacoma Musicians Union, and the Tacoma Youth Symphony.
Pamela became an accomplished cellist and National Merit Scholar. She was principal cellist of Washington’s All State Orchestra and String Congress in Los Angeles. She received a full scholarship to the University of Puget Sound and then the University of Washington where she completed the five-year Bachelor’s Degree in Cello Performance (cum laude). While attending the UW Pamela won the top music scholarship for 5 years – the Brechemin Foundation Award. She continued on full scholarship as a graduate student, completing two full years of graduate studies towards a Masters in Cello Performance. She stopped just short of completing this degree due to the intensity of her performing and teaching schedule.
Pamelas’ primary teacher at the University of Washington was Eva Heinitz, with whom she studied both cello and viola da gamba. Her other cello instructors included Toby Saks, Alan Harris, Robert Gardner, Daniel Lynch, Vivian King, Dudley Powers and Lou Petrulis. She received full fellowships to the Cleveland Chamber Music Festival, String Congress in Los Angeles, and Aspen Music Festival for three years. She studied in Master Classes with Janos Starker, Gabor Rejto, Michael Tree, David Soyer and Yo Yo Ma.
Pamela Roberts became faculty cellist at the University of Puget Sound and principal cellist in the Tacoma Symphony. She also performed as a free-lancing solo cellist. She was the first female musician hired into the 5th Avenue Theatre orchestra in Seattle, where she played solo cello in Broadway shows. As a free-lancing cellist Pamela performed with the Seattle Symphony, Seattle Opera, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Philadelphia String Quartet, Northwest Chamber Orchestra, Tacoma Symphony, Paramount Theater Orchestra and Seattle Early Music Guild.
Pamela is principal cellist in the Port Townsend Symphony Orchestra. In 2022 she was a featured soloist with the PTSO, performing Piazzolla’s Grand Tango. She works with five pianists on the Olympic Peninsula: Sheila Harwood, Helen Lauritzen, Michael Carroll, Lisa Lanza and Sung-Ling Hsu.
Pamela Roberts is married to the well-known jazz musician, Howard Gilbert – a retired percussionist from the Seattle Symphony. Together they raised three children and loved sharing their musical traditions and experiences with them.