A pianist of “unerring, warm-toned refinement, revealing judicious glimmers of power,” (Los Angeles Times) Robert Edward Thies (pronounced “Theece”) is an artist renowned for his consummate musicianship and poetic temperament. He first captured worldwide attention in 1995 when he won the Gold Medal at the Second International Prokofiev Competition in St. Petersburg, Russia. With this victory, Robert became the only American pianist to win first prize in a Russian piano competition since Van Cliburn’s famed triumph in Moscow in 1958.
Praised for his “thoughtful and intensely moving interpretations,” Robert enjoys a diverse career as an orchestral soloist, recitalist and chamber musician. He has already performed over 35 concertos with orchestras all over the world. In one season alone he performed thirteen different concertos, garnering consistent critical acclaim. He has appeared with such orchestras as the Saint Petersburg Philharmonic, Liepāja Symphony (Latvia), Mexico City Philharmonic, the National Symphony of Mexico, Auckland Philharmonia (New Zealand), Louisville Orchestra, Fort Worth Symphony, Pasadena Symphony, and the Naples Philharmonic. His concerts have been broadcast throughout the United States, Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Bolivia, Hungary, Mexico and New Zealand.
A dedicated chamber musician, Robert continues to expand an already impressive repertoire and collaborates with many esteemed musicians. He has appeared with established ensembles such as the Angeles, Calder, and New Hollywood String Quartets, and has also performed on the chamber series of Camerata Pacifica, Mladi, Dilijan and Jacaranda. He is founder and artistic director of The Thies Consort which performs a wide range of works of varying instrumentation and size, thus allowing for innovative and unique programming with musical continuity based on a style, composer, or other concept.
Robert’s “grace and unsurpassed lyricism” are in high demand at festivals and special celebrations. In 2002, in conjunction with the Hollywood premiere of Roman Polanski’s film The Pianist, he performed Wladislaw Szpilman’s Concertino for Piano and Orchestra with the Los Angeles Jewish Symphony. That same year Robert earned national recognition for his collaboration with noted cultural historian and author, Joseph Horowitz, in the Pacific Symphony’s Dvořák in America festival. To commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of Arnold Schoenberg’s death, Robert was invited to Mexico City’s Palacio de Bellas Artes in 2001 to perform the composer’s seldom-heard Piano Concerto with the National Symphony of Mexico. During the fall of 1997 Robert worked alongside distinguished Polish composer Henryk Górecki in the United States premiere of his Sonata for Piano. Robert has performed at the music festivals of Ravinia, Aspen, Sedona, Cape May, Music Academy of the West, as well as the San Luis Obispo Mozart Festival.
In Los Angeles, Robert has worked and recorded with many of the top studio musicians, and has also worked with film composers James Newton Howard, James Horner, Danny Elfman and Lalo Schifrin. Robert’s recordings can be found on the Centaur, Albany and Golden Tone labels. Recently, a chamber music recording Common Ground, was released, which features works by LA composer, Gernot Wolfgang. In February 2006 Robert released his debut solo recording Live in Recital. In June 2006, he recorded a crossover improvisational CD Difference with the Croatian flutist, Damjan Krajacic.
Born in New Jersey, Robert makes a home in Los Angeles. His teachers have included Robert Turner and Daniel Pollack, both protégés of the legendary Russian pedagogue Madame Rosina Lhevinne, and the great pianist Josef Lhevinne. Robert Thies is a Steinway artist.