A Juilliard-trained pianist, Jones also translated Czech novels, plays, and operas. His translations of Janšcek operas have been seen at the Metropolitan Opera, Seattle Opera, New York City Opera, and Royal Opera.
Jones wrote for the New York Times before moving to Charleston when Spoleto was founded in 1977.
"We said we were creating a world-class arts festival, so to bring a critic who would know if we did or if we didn't was very important," said Charleston mayor Joe Riley. "From the outset, he saw the real work of art that was Charleston and the festival, and he clearly admired it and loved it."
"This is a terrible loss for those who care about the arts and especially for us at the Spoleto Festival, which Bob has covered from its inception," festival director Nigel Redden said. "He was a critic of deep insight, and for many members of the Charleston public, he was even more of a voice of Spoleto than myself or any member of my staff were."