Pianist and composer Robert Fleitz is committed to bringing new works and idiosyncratic concert experiences to broader audiences, while simultaneously leading them to deeper and more meaningful listening experiences. Known for “mesmerizing” and “commanding” playing (New York Times) Robert has gained a reputation as a tirelessly prolific performer and commissioner of new solo, chamber, and music-theatre works; and has worked closely with and been coached by a number of notable figures in contemporary music including Kaija Saariaho, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Thomas Ádes, Tan Dun, Jennifer Higdon, Christopher Theofanidis, Ted Hearne, Sebastian Currier, John Zorn, Paola Prestini, Bill Brittelle, Tadaaki Otaka, and Jeffrey Milarsky. He has performed as a soloist with the Juilliard Orchestra, the New Juilliard Ensemble, the Imperial Symphony Orchestra and the Tampa Bay Symphony; and has also performed with Contemporaneous, Ensemble Échappé, The String Orchestra of Brooklyn, Tactus, AXIOM, Wordless Music Orchestra, and the Irish National Symphony Orchestra. He is also a a recipient of Juilliard’s Career Advancement Fellowship.
Robert’s stroboscopic collaborations have led him to recent appearances in venues and festivals near and far, including the Kyoto Music Festival; the Latvian National Library; Universidade de Aveiro (Portugal); the National Concert Hall in Dublin; the Koncertkirken in Copenhagen; BAM’s Next Wave Festival; The Eighth Blackbird Creative Lab; Le Poisson Rouge; the Morgan Library; the Metropolitan Museum of Art; MoMA; New Music New Haven; the Chelsea Music Festival; Wayne-O-Rama in Chattanooga, Aspen Art Museum; and the Duplex Cabaret Theater in Greenwich Village, among others.
Robert’s “dreamy…ambrosial” music (Boston Music Intelligencer) is characterized by fragmented expressivity and theatricality both subtle and explicit; building intuitive systems from microscopic gestures of human interaction while drawing inspiration from wordplay, pedestrian movement, and archetypes of engagement. His recent work frequently utilizes installation, video and extramusical performance techniques. Notable recent commissions and performances include the score for the Off-Broadway dance theatre piece Babel, Hilary Easton Dance Company, JUX, Juventas New Music Ensemble, Concerts for Compassion, Dallas Symphony principal harpist Emily Levin, collaborations with writers Brendan Jones and Erin Dahl, and several solo and chamber works.
Education and arts outreach are a focal point of Robert’s work, and he is currently a Teaching Artist with the New York Philharmonic. Other teaching work has included private piano lessons and music history in Juilliard’s Music Advancement Program; musical theater instruction at the Sitka Fine Arts Camp (Alaska); chamber music at the Danbury Chamber Music Intensive (Connecticut); chorus and creativity at stART Osceola (Florida); and ear training at The Juilliard School--as well as leading outreach trips to New Orleans, Louisiana, and Arusha, Tanzania.
With violist Carrie Frey, Robert is one half of Wind-Up Elephant. Combining theatricality, improvisation, electronics, vocalization and various extended techniques, the duo brings whimsical fierceness to programs of newly commissioned works by intrepid young composers as well as original pieces and improvisations by the duo themselves. With violinist Giancarlo Latta, he is also a member of escapeVelocity, a violin and piano duo committed to commissioning new works and bringing masterworks of the 20th and 21st century to new audiences. He is a frequent performer of other keyboard instruments including harpsichord, harmonium, melodica, and Hammond organ. He can occasionally be heard as a singer with a musical-theatre baritenor bent.
Robert’s own piano studies began with his father at age 4. He completed both graduate and undergraduate studies at The Juilliard School, studying with Julian Martin and Hung-Kuan Chen. He studies composition with Simon Frisch, and has also worked with Howard Buss, Philip Lasser, Molly Joyce, Peter Adriaansz, and Karlheinz Essl. He has had masterclasses with Yoheved Kaplinsky, Robert Levin, Jeremy Denk, Richard Goode, Lydia Artymiw, and Misha Dichter. He has studied chamber music with Jerome Lowenthal, Dan Druckman, Joel Sachs, Miranda Cuckson, Vivian Weilerstein, Constance Moore, and Matti Raekallio. Other major teachers and include Marc Durand, Ching-Wen Hsiao, and Naomi Niskala. He has been in residence at the Aspen Music Festival, Bowdoin Music Festival, Orford Music Academy, Banff Centre, the Composers Conference at Wellesley College, and Avaloch Farm. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling, riding his bike, clouds, Steven Universe, iced coffee, and seeking out intriguing and delicious food.