Through “mesmerizing” and “commanding” performances (The New York Times), pianist and composer Robert Fleitz curates artistic experiences that surprise as often as dazzle. He made his “auspicious debut” (New York Concert Review) in Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall in October 2021. Known as an “innovative musical thinker” with a reputation for dynamic performances of both canonic and new repertoire, he has made appearances in 25 US states and 17 countries worldwide, including Koncertzale Latvija; Viimsi Artium; Kyoto Music Festival; BAM’s Next Wave Festival; the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Latvian National Library; the Irish National Concert Hall; Copenhagen's Koncertkirken; the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts; the Chelsea Music Festival; Le Poisson Rouge; the Aspen Art Museum; and a small cardboard house in a Lower East Side art gallery, among many others.
Recent honors include the First Prize in the 2022 John Cage Award in Halberstadt, 2021 Pro Musicis International Award, the André Boucourechliev Prize in the 2020 International Piano Competition of Orléans, and a 2021 Robert Turnbull Piano Foundation Musicians Grant. His self-produced album, Leaving a Room, was released in September 2021, and consists of works by young composers recorded in his New York apartment on a 1970’s Kawai. A passionate interpreter of new music, he has collaborated with composers such as Timo Andres, Tan Dun, Paola Prestini, Jeffrey Mumford, and Liisa Hirsch.
Robert’s compositions often explore themes like queer ecology, the occult possibilities of technology, and spontaneous human goodness. He collaborates actively with ensembles across North America and Europe, recent commissions including the Metropolis Ensemble (NYC), Ruth Howard and Jumblies Theatre (Toronto), and Hilary Easton Dance Company (NYC) and double bassist Donatas Butkevičius (Vilnius).
First taught piano at age 4 by his father, Patrick Fleitz, Robert received degrees from The Juilliard School (B.M. & M.M.) as a piano student of Hung-Kuan Chen and Julian Martin, and was one of ten graduates to receive the school’s Career Advancement Grant. Robert and his father co-founded the Swan City Piano Festival, an ongoing multi-genre celebration of pianists and piano repertoire in his hometown of Lakeland, Florida. He also formed violin and piano duo escapeVelocity with Giancarlo Latta, with whom he won a Chamber Music America Ensemble Forward Grant. Currently, Robert is pursuing further studies at the Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music as a 2021 Frank Huntington Beebe Grantee, where he studies with Juris Žvikovs.
Elsewhere, Robert values opportunities to work as an educator. Particularly special highlights include creating curriculum for Juilliard Global Ventures, working with New York City public school students and teachers as a teaching artist with the New York Philharmonic, and mentoring students at the Sitka Fine Arts Camp in Alaska.
He is grateful for his many notable teachers and mentors, including Hilary Easton, Lydia Artymiw, Pi-hsien Chen, Tema Blackstone, Lucy Shelton, Claire Chase, Jocelyn Lai, and Ching-Wen Hsiao. Composition mentors have included Eric Wubbels, Jānis Petraškevičs, Simon Frisch, and Molly Joyce. He also has training in clowning, physical theatre, and vocal performance. Robert is currently based in Rīga, Latvia. He speaks English, Latvian, Spanish, and Portuguese.
Robert Fleitz is a Yamaha Artist.