He leaves his wife of 53 years, Ellen Nisbett; his daughter Tamara Di Pasquallucci; son Heath Nisbett; four grandchildren; and his younger brother David Nisbett.
Robert Nisbett was born on August 12, 1937, in Niles, Ohio. Son of Joe and Miriam Alice (Rex) Nisbett. He was the brother of Joe, Teddy, and David Nisbett.
After graduating from Niles McKinley High School in 1955 he studied piano at the Cleveland Institute of Music, 1956—1957.
He received his Bachelor of Science in piano and music education from Kent State University, Ohio, in 1960, his Master of Arts in piano and music history from Kent State University, Ohio, in 1963, and his Doctor of Philosophy in music history from, Ohio State University, Columbus, in 1979. His doctoral dissertation focused on Louis Gruenberg, a Russian-born American pianist and prolific composer.
Early in his career he was a music teacher for Ohio Public Schools in Warren, Ohio (1959-1960), and North Canton (1960-1963). He was also a piano teacher at Kent State University (1963-1964) and assistant at Ohio State University (1964-1965).
Robert spent most of his career as a professor of music at Colorado State University from 1965-2005. He served as Chair of the Department of Music, Theatre, and Dance and as Professor of music history. He was also visiting professor for the University of Wales, Swansea, 1986.
Robert was a very accomplished pianist. He was performing from an early age and played in jazz groups and solo classical piano all around the states of Ohio, Colorado, and throughout the southwest.
Robert F. Nisbett has been listed as a noteworthy music educator, recipient of the American Music Research award, Sinfonia Foundation in 1976, and research award for study in African-American music from the National Endowment of the Humanities in 1982.
Robert’s great loves of his life included his wife Ellen, ice skating, jazz and classical music, searching for unique collectibles, great comedy, and his adopted state of Colorado where he spent most of his adult life.
A celebration of Robert’s life will be held at 4 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 20, at the home of his wife and children.