Robert Fleitz, whose playing has been called “mesmerizing” by the New York Times, is a Manhattan-based pianist and composer, committed to building community through the ambitious advocacy of new works of music. As a performer, Robert has commissioned and premiered over fifty solo, chamber, and music-theater works in the past five years; and has worked with a number of notable figures in contemporary music including Esa-Pekka Salonen, John Zorn, 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 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 Kyoto Music Festival; the National Concert Hall in Dublin; the Koncertkirken in Copenhagen, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, MoMA, the Chelsea Music Festival, and the Duplex Cabaret Theater in Greenwich Village, among others. As a composer, Robert seeks to explore the fringes of human interaction through emotionally lucid music tailored specifically to the performer for whom he is writing. Some notable recent projects include an art song in collaboration with acclaimed Alaskan writer Brendan Jones; an interactively theatrical toy piano duet; and a solo harp piece for Emily Levin, principal harpist of the Dallas Symphony.
A prolific performer and advocate of new music, he is involved with a number of entrepreneurial projects. He is the co-founder and artistic director of the Florida International Toy Piano Festival in Tampa, FL celebrating innovative performers and composers from around the globe through the toy piano; and is a frequent performer of other alternative keyboard instruments including harpsichord, harmonium, melodica, and Hammond organ. He is the co-founder of Resonant Grounds, a duo committed to promoting new music through education and performance. He 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 his undergraduate studies at The Juilliard School studying with Julian Martin, and is currently pursuing his master’s degree there studying with Hung-Kuan Chen. He studies composition with Simon Frisch, having previously worked with Howard Buss. Other major teachers and mentors have included Marc Durand, Ching-Wen Hsiao, and Hilary Easton. He has had masterclasses with Yoheved Kaplinsky, Jeremy Denk, and Richard Goode. In his spare time, Robert enjoys avocados, clouds, Tilda Swinton, and Pokémon, among other things.
Photographer: Harrison Linsey