Pianist and composer Robert Fleitz regularly demonstrates a commitment to bringing new works and idiosyncratic concert experiences to a broader audience. 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 a number of notable figures in contemporary music including Kaija Saariaho, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Thomas Ádes, Tan Dun, John Zorn, Paola Prestini, 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 Ensemble Échappé, The String Orchestra of Brooklyn, Tactus, AXIOM, Wordless Music, and the Irish National Symphony Orchestra.
Robert’s stroboscopic collaborations have led him to recent appearances in venues and festivals near and far, including the Latvian National Library; Universidade de Aveiro (Portugal); Festival Daniou; Kyoto Music Festival; the National Concert Hall in Dublin; the Koncertkirken in Copenhagen; Le Poisson Rouge; New Music New Haven; the Morgan Library; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, MoMA, the Chelsea Music Festival, Wayne-O-Rama in Chattanooga, and the Duplex Cabaret Theater in Greenwich Village, among others.
An accomplished composer, Robert’s “dreamy…ambrosial” music (Boston Music Intelligencer) is characterized by fragmented expressivity and theatricality both subtle and explicit, drawing inspiration from the collaborative process. Notable recent commissions and performances include the score for the Off-Broadway dance theatre piece Babel, Hilary Easton Dance Company, Juventas New Music Ensemble, Concerts for Compassion, a collaboration with writer Brendan Jones, and several solo and chamber works.
With violist Carrie Frey, Robert is one half of the Wind-Up Elephant duo. 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. He is a frequent performer of other keyboard instruments including harpsichord, harmonium, melodica, and Hammond organ. He was recently a fellow at the Eighth Blackbird Creative Lab in Ojai, California; and was also a member of the inaugural class of Contemporary Performance Fellows at the Composers’ Conference at Wellesley College.
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 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 organizing outreach trips to New Orleans, Louisiana, and Arusha, Tanzania.
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, having previously worked with Howard Buss and Philip Lasser. Other major teachers and mentors include Marc Durand, Ching-Wen Hsiao, Marie Hasse, Naomi Niskala, and Hilary Easton. He has had masterclasses with Yoheved Kaplinsky, Jeremy Denk, Richard Goode, and Misha Dichter. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling, clouds, Steven Universe, iced coffee, and seeking out intriguing and delicious food.