December 17, 2019
Robert Thies first captured worldwide attention in 1995 when he became the only American pianist to win first prize in a Russian piano competition since Van Cliburn won in Moscow in 1958. Robert’s playing is featured in The Life of Pi, Concussion, Fracture, Fifty Shades Freed, and many others. Hear from the man behind the music in this Artist Spotlight episode, including Robert’s source of inspiration, and latest creative outlets.
Today we’re featuring concert pianist and recording artist, Robert Thies. Robert first captured worldwide attention in 1995 when he became the only American pianist to win first prize in a Russian piano competition since Van Cliburn won in Moscow in 1958. His work is incredibly diverse and versatile, and includes classical and jazz performances and recordings; piano playing for film and television soundtracks; improvising and composing. Robert lives in LA, and has performed in countries around the world, including China, New Zealand, Mexico, Latvia, Bolivia, Germany, and Austria.
- Robert says: “Nature has always been an inspiration for me. Though I’m not a religious person, I find spirituality in music and in nature. I can sit next to a stream for hours, just listening, watching the flowing water– the way it moves and the sound it makes.”
- Robert’s deep love for improvisation led to a creative outlet and collaboration with his friend, Croatian flutist Damjan Krajacic, in the release of three albums under the title Blue Landscapes: collections of original compositions and improvisations.
- Robert first recorded with Damjan in 2006 (an improvisational album, Difference), then Blue Landscapes I (2012) and II (2016). The latter CD won a Global Music Award. The Blue Landscapes albums proved to be the perfect vehicle to revisit his love and passion for musical conversation.
- Robert’s hobbies include travel, hiking in nature, visiting art museums, composing, exploring international cuisines, jigsaw puzzles, and time spent with his dog, Simon.
Robert describes a short exercise on improvising and developing one’s ear for music. Anyone can do it with access to a piano.
- Website: www.robertthies.org
- Facebook: @RobertThiesPianist
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thies_pianist/
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/robert-thies-4922975b
- YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCobeyMIW5I-3y07p9F_DmMw
Blue Landscapes Music
- Website: www.bluelandscapesmusic.com
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BlueLandscapesMusic
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bluelandscapesmusic/
- YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMKo8qz_iqueDqHiuTSyLeg
- I Am Not An Accompanist – written for the California Music Teacher journal, Volume 41 No. 2, Fall 2017.
- Is The Music Conservatory Model Obsolete? – written for the California Music Teacher journal, Volume 43 No. 2, Fall 2019.
Robert shares with us his song, “As the Earth Awakens” (with Damian Krajacic, from Blue Landscapes II: Discoveries).