John Robilette | Concert Pianist, Cultural Diplomat
Polish Embassy in Washington, 2006.

Biography

  • “...great pianist.”
    The San Diego Union-Tribune
    San Diego, California
    October 7, 2005
  • “...he has great musical ability and is enviably gifted. When he played Franz Liszt, (Mephisto Waltz) we would almost say the pianist 'warmed up', and succeeded in giving a performance that was flawless both technically and musically. He integrated the harmonic structure with the melody line and adjusted the rhythm to the color of the sound and, by displaying his technical virtuosity, delighted us by conveying the full musical genius of this composer. At the end of the concert at the audiences insistence, Robilette played the Fauré Nocturne and then Chopin again, where the pianist gave free rein to his romantic soul and demonstrated his clear affinity for this musical era. ”
    Primeiro de Janeiro
    Porto, Portugal
    February, 1987
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Professional Engagements and Awards


Photo of John Robilette Critically acclaimed (The Washington Post, Fanfare magazine, Classical Pulse) compact disc (CD) recording of César Franck's Symphonic Variations with the Russian State Symphony Orchestra in Moscow, including solo works by Chopin, Fauré, Poulenc and Franck, released with world wide distribution on the ProArte label in 1994. Paul Freeman conducting.

Critically acclaimed (The Washington Post) compact disc recording of Schumann Piano Concerto with the St. Petersburg (formerly Leningrad) Philharmonic, (Paul Freeman conducting) includes the Schumann 'Carnaval' as solo piano work, released with world wide distribution on the ProArte label in 1994.

Critically acclaimed (American Record Guide) compact disc (CD) recording of the Saint-Saens 2nd Piano Concerto, the Beethoven 4rth Piano Concerto, and the Mozart Concert Rondo for Piano and Orchestra, K. 382, with the New Philharmonic of Sophia, Bulgaria. Rossen Milanov conducting. This recording has received American distribution on the Musicians Showcase Recordings label.

Critically acclaimed (International Piano, UK, and Arietta, journal of The Beethoven Piano Society of Europe) release in October, 2001 of fourth commercial CD recording featuring his London debut concert at The Wigmore Hall on June 12, 2000. This is also featured on the Musicians Showcase Recording label.

Performances in solo recitals or as soloist with orchestra throughout twenty-four countries in western and eastern Europe, South America and the Caribbean.

Performance of Beethoven Fantasia, Op. 80 for Piano, Chorus and Orchestra (Choral Fantasy), Naples and Fort Myers Florida, March 24 -25, 2012.

Recital at Italian Embassy Theater, Italian Embassy, Washington, DC, February 11, 2012

Recital at Polish Embassy, Washington, CD, June 29, 2011

Recitals in Austria and Germany, April, May, 2011

Recitals in Austria and Germany, April, May, 2010

Recital for the Chopin Society of London on Chopin’s birthday at the Polish Embassy in London England, on February 22, 2009.

Recital tour of Germany and Hungary in May of 2008.

Recital of tour of Iceland, Poland, Germany and Russia in April, 2007

Recital at the Sala Cecelia Meireles in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on May 23,
2006.

Recital at the Casa Thomas Jefferson in Brasilia, Brazil on May 26, 2006.

Recital at the American Embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina on May 30, 2006.

Recitals in Santiago, Concepcion and Chillan, Chile, June 5-8, 2006.

Recital to Commemorate the anniversary of the death of Ignacy Jan Paderewski at the Polish Embassy in Washington, DC on June 23, 2006.

Master class at George Washington University as part of the Fourth Washington International Piano Amateur Competition, July 23, 2006.

Recital on the Paderewski piano at the Polish Embassy in Washington, DC on March 4, 2006 (sponsored by the Polish-American Arts Association).

Recital at the Coolidge Auditorium of the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. on September 28, 2005.

Master class at George Washington University as part of the Second Washington International Piano Amateur Competition, July 10, 2004.

Recital at the Polish Embassy in Washington, D.C. (on Paderewski's piano), sponsored by the Washington International Piano Arts Council, on February 21, 2004.

Recital and master class at Shepherd School of Music, Rice University, Houston Texas, along with an interview on public radio, October 8-11, 2003.

Recital for the Voice of America's Noon-Time Concert Series on October 9, 2002, broadcast and (and televised) to thirty million people throughout the world.

Recital and four days of master classes at the University of Rio de Janeiro in August of 2002.

Interview in September/October 2001 issue of Fanfare magazine.

Performances have included a critically acclaimed solo recital at St. John's Smith Square in London (June 10, 2001), Wigmore Hall in London (June 12, 2000), The Bourglinster Castle concert series in Luxembourg(March 26, 2000), the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., a live recital and interview over WNYC public radio in New York city ("Around New York" - 9/12/94), and a solo recital at the National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution as part of the inaugural festivities for President Ronald Reagan.

Past member of the International Advisory Board of the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.

Chosen as a judge for the Washington International Piano Amateur Competition in 2003- 6.

Chosen as a judge for the international piano competition "Concursos Internacionais De Musica Da Cidade Do Porto" in Porto, Portugal (October 1-11, 1994)

Commissioned eminent American composers, including: Morton Gould, Norman Dello Joio, George Rochberg, Ernst Bacon, Ross Lee Finney, Elie Siegmeister, Benjamin Lees, Leo Smit, Lee Hoiby, Robert Muczynski, William Mayer, George Perle and Lukas Foss. The manuscripts reside in an archive at the Library of Congress.

Full fellowship to Tanglewood Festival for the study and performance of chamber music (summer of 1974).

Named in Outstanding Young Men in America, 1980.
Named in International Directory of Distinguished Leadership, 1989.


Teaching


Lecturer in Piano, (part-time) The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. (1993 - 2003).

Assistant Professor of Piano, Westchester University, Westchester, PA (1979-1982).

Teaching Assistant and Associate in Piano, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA (1973- 1977).

Master classes in Brazil, Venezuela, the Caribbean, Portugal and the United States.

Made a 30 minute instructional videotape on piano technique for the United States Information Agency which was translated into different languages and used by our embassies in 19 countries throughout the world.


Administrative


Organized a public advocacy ceremony and concert at the Coolidge Auditorium (September 28th, 2005) titled, "The Power of Great Music in the Revival of US Public Diplomacy." Speakers included: Senator Norman Coleman (R-Minn), Chairman of the Senate Arts Caucus, Letitia Baldrige, former Chief of Staff to First Lady, Jacqueline Kennedy, Marta Casals Istomin, and General Edwin Rowny. Half of the program was devoted to a concert by Mr. Robilette of piano pieces by Paderewski and Chopin. Georgie Anne Geyer, a syndicated columnist in 120 papers across the US, wrote in The Washington Times that "it was a magical evening in Washington with a spectacular pianist playing Chopin and Paderewski in the exquisite halls of the Library of Congress. It was also an evening filled with memories – of the Kennedy White House, the first to bring great artists to the ‘nation's home,' and of triumphant American artistic tours overseas." Mr. Robilette obtained funding for the evening from the Alcoa corporation.

Designed and oversaw a live concert series at the Voice of America in Washington, D.C., in celebration of the VOA's 60th anniversary of broadcasting (2002). This series featured leading classical artists and was broadcast to thirty million people throughout the world.

Created and directed the Artistic Ambassador Program for the United States Government (1982-1989). This cultural exchange program sent unrecognized American classical musicians on concert tours throughout sixty-three countries overseas, as part of American public diplomacy. Musical America said, "...it is doubtful if any federal program of this century has proven more cost effective."

From 1982-1989 through the Artistic Ambassador Program, John Robilette had:

  • Sent American classical musicians to 63 countries (including Russia and China).

  • Reached into all 50 states with live auditions (for the first time in government history) for solo pianists, violin-piano duos, cello-piano duos, and piano trios.

  • Received recognition within the United States from: President Reagan, The Congressional Record The Baltimore Evening Sun, Musical America, High Fidelity, Clavier, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Cable News Network, American Airlines in-flight magazine, etc.

  • Regularly commissioned American composers to write special pieces for these overseas tours as part of an ongoing cultural presentation for the U.S. government (done this way for the first time in government history).

  • Obtained an archive at the Library of Congress where manuscripts of these composers remain (120 minutes of American piano music, and one violin-piano duo). The commissioned composers include: Morton Gould, Norman Dello Joio, Geoge Rochberg, Ernst Bacon, Ross Lee Finney, Elie Siegmeister, Benjamin Lees, Leo Smit, Lee Hoiby, Robert Muczynski, William Mayer, George Perle, and Lukas Foss.

  • Advised the Ford Motor Company and the Kennedy Center on setting up the Artistic Ambassador Concert Series at the Kennedy Center. This series, which was sponsored by the Ford Motor Company from 1986-1988, involved recital appearances by alumni of the Artistic Ambassador Program.



Education


Doctor of Musical Arts (Piano Performance), The Catholic University of America (1989).

Master of Fine Arts (Piano Performance), UCLA (1977).

Bachelor of Music (Piano Performance), Cornell College (1967).

Two years in the Virtuoso Class of Mme. Bascourret de Guèraldi at the Ecole Normale de Musique in Paris, France (1967-69).

Sponsored for further study in London, England with Peter Feuchtwanger and Louis Kentner (1975-6).

Private study of counterpoint and form and analysis with Leonard Stein (former assistant to Arnold Schoenberg) in Los Angeles (1971-72).


Teachers


Mme. Bascourret de Guèraldi (former assistant to Alfred Cortot) 1967-69.
Aube Tzerko (former assistant to Artur Schnabel) 1970-75, 1976-77.
Louis Kentner, 1976.
Peter Feuchtwanger, 1975-76
William Masselos, 1978-84.
Gilbert Kalish (coached in chamber music while on Tanglewood Fellowship, 1974).
Raymond Lewenthal (six week master class in Romantic Chamber Music while on Tanglewood Fellowship, 1974).
Leonard Stein (former assistant to Arnold Schoenberg) in the study of harmony, counterpoint, form and analysis (1971-72).


Commercial CD Recordings


"Schumann Piano Concerto and Carnaval" (ProArte CDS 3464)

"French Piano Album" (ProArte 3491)

"John Robilette Piano Concerti - Beethoven, Mozart, Saint-Saens (Musicians Showcase Recordings MS 1031)

"John Robilette Live At Wigmore Hall in London" (Musicians Showcase Recordings MS 1043)