Robert Stevenson, even in retirement, remains one of the most productive scholars now working in musicology. His numerous advanced degrees include the MM (Yale), PhD in composition (University of Rochester), STB (Harvard), ThM (Princeton Theological Seminary), and BLitt (Oxford). His teachers included Schrade and Westrup (musicology), Hutcheson and Schnabel (piano), and Hanson and Stravinsky (composition).

He taught at UCLA from 1949 into the 1990s, well into his retirement. Among his many honors are the Gabriela Mistral prize (1985), the Award of the Lifetime Achievement Citation by the Sonneck Society for American Music (1999), the Constantine Panunzio Distinguished Emeritus Award (UCLA, 2004), and honorary memberships in the American Musciological Society (2002), the International Musicological Society (2006), and the Society for Ethnomusicology (2007), a unique achievement.Professor Stevenson's best-known contribution has been to the study of Latin American colonial music, in which his work is outstanding; in his archival research in Mexico, Guatemala, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Chile, he discovered and published essential documents for the reconstruction of cathedral music history, and made known many colonial music manuscripts.

He has also contributed substantially to the history of Iberian music and of American church music. His extensive publications reveal an impressive command of bibliographical tools and of the literature. The Music of Peru(1960), Renaissance and Baroque Musical Sources in the Americas (1970) and Foundations of New World Opera (1973) provide new information and understanding for a wealth of Latin American colonial music; Spanish Music in the Age of Columbus (1960) and Spanish Cathedral Music in the Golden Age (1961) give valuable accounts of a much neglected aspect of Renaissance music. In 1978 he founded and became editor of the Inter-American Music Review. Robert Stevenson has been one of the most prolific American musicologists of the 20th century in American, Iberian and Latin American musical studies.

Excluding the several hundred dictionary and encyclopedia articles, his output numbers some 30 books, monographs and musical editions and almost 300 articles on Spanish, Portuguese and North and Latin American music, in addition to numerous articles on various topics of West European music. He has also maintained an active career as a composer and performer, and sponsored many awards and prizes, among them the Robert M. Stevenson Award for outstanding scholarship in Iberian music (American Musicological Society), the Robert M. Stevenson Prize (Society for Ethnomusicology), and, in our department, the annual Robert Stevenson Lecture series.