Robert Prester, Great American Songbook, Brazilian and Latin Jazz, Afro/Cuban
Price Range: Contact for rates
Gig Length: 30 - 240 minutes
Insurance: $2,000,000 - Liability and Workmen's Comp
Website: Visit website
Robert Prester is an American concert and jazz pianist, best known for his virtuosic and articulate approach to both classical and jazz idioms, his effortless improvizatory agility, and his ability to innovatively stylize jazz standards and Great American Songbook repertoire. His music has been documented on CD’s of his original compositions, and is heard on commercial recordings, live classical and jazz performances, and college performance lectures.
Robert began early piano study at the prep division of Manhattan School of Music and was later awarded a scholarship there to earn his Masters of Music degree. Robert’s first recording, Trillium, released on Island Records in 1988, was nominated for the Grammy Awards quarter-finals. His most recent recording, Rapsodya, features his original Piano Sonata in F Minor, as well as a collection of classical works by Beethoven, Bach, Chopin, and Debussy.
One of Robert’s early projects on the New York scene was a commission to compose and produce the soundtrack for the CityKids Foundation show, which premiered in the St. James Theater on Broadway. As Musical Director for the production he appeared with Herbie Hancock and Grover Washington Jr. on the Phil Donahue show.
While living in Honolulu, Robert performed with the Honolulu Symphony as pianist for pops concerts. His keyboard playing aired on episodes of MTV’s Real World and he was invited to perform as featured guest soloist with the University of Hawaii Jazz Ensemble and to conduct seminars on improvisation at the University of Hawaii.
Robert has held teaching positions at the Rockland Conservatory and Opus 118 in New York, and has been an instructor at the Florida Atlantic University LLS program teaching among other things, his newly developed course, "Deconstructing Jazz".
In recent years, Robert’s connection with his classical roots has reemerged as a major focus, leading him to perform solo concert recitals in New York, Maine, Florida, Massachusetts, and Hawaii. His newest classical composition, a solo piano sonata, was recently premiered at the Festival Internacional de San Miguel de Allende in Mexico, and was also performed at the National Gallery in Washington DC.
Prester now resides in the Philadelphia area, teaching, recording, performing and composing. He concertizes as solo pianist and with various ensembles, including the Cameo Chamber Players, the Prester Chamber Artists, Robert Prester Jazz Trio, the Boca Symphonia, and the Phill Fest Brazilian Jazz Ensemble.
Influences & Inspiration
I grew up listening to mostly classical, (Romantic period music was, and still is my favorite- Chopin, Brahms, late Beethoven). Jazz piano greats that influenced my early improvisation are Oscar Peterson, Bud Powell, Wynton Kelly, Bill Evans, and Chick Corea.