New Musical Director reveals big plans for Peninsula Arts

Acclaimed concert pianist Dr Robert Taub with the Director of Peninsula Arts, Dr Sarah Chapman

The new Musical Director of Peninsula Arts, acclaimed concert pianist Dr Robert Taub, is promising to use all his skills and experience to make Plymouth’s music scene as ‘vibrant and as great’ as it can be.

Dr Taub, a world-renowned performer best known for his superlative interpretation of Beethoven, has this month taken up the role overseeing the music element of the University of Plymouth’s public art programme.

In an impressive CV covering performance, concert programming and academia, he has played as guest soloist with some of the world’s foremost orchestras and conductors, including the MET Orchestra in Carnegie Hall, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic, The Philadelphia Orchestra and the San Francisco Symphony.

A graduate of Princeton University, he also held the position of Artist-in-Residence at its Institute for Advanced Study, where his only predecessor in the role was T S Eliot.

During his time as Visiting Professor at Kingston University in the UK, Dr Taub organised and performed a sold-out series of concerts at London’s Hampton Court Palace in which he played the complete piano sonatas of Beethoven.

He is a passionate and eloquent speaker on the importance and power of music from any period, and plans to use all his varied talents in support of music in Plymouth and the region.

Dr Taub said:

“Part of the decision to come here is that everyone I’ve met is enthusiastic, and everyone has an extremely positive attitude. Plymouth has a great history, and Peninsula Arts has a great history too.

"I think there’s a lot of excitement that we can build upon. I’m jumping in with everything I can bring to music in Plymouth. Music is a language not constrained by any barriers or any national or geopolitical borders.

"If there are appropriate opportunities to perform, and to work with students and colleagues here (some of whom I’ve met and know already) I’d love to do so. My aim is to make the music scene as vibrant and great as it can be in Plymouth, to match the history of the city.”

The new Musical Director’s influence will really start to show from autumn 2019 onwards, when the programme already lined up comes to an end. Dr Taub is enthusiastic about Mayflower 2020, and keen to build Peninsula Arts’ musical offering towards this year of celebration, but says there are also plenty of interesting opportunities in the near-term. He continued:

“A lot of what I’ve done in the past in terms of building concert series and programmes has been cross-faculty, involving cross-pollination. There’s a great deal of potential for that here, in the University and involving other people and organisations in the city.”

Although a Beethoven specialist, Dr Taub has performed music from across the ages collaborating with composers of today, and embraces Peninsula Arts’ willingness to explore the cutting edge of art and culture. He said:

“I’ve always believed it’s critical to be involved in the music of one’s own time, and to play new music as if it’s old and old music as if it’s new. 

"If we can understand old music as if the ink has barely dried, and play new music with deep conviction, we can share something fresh and new. I very much enjoy that balance, that perspective.

"There’s a continuum to everything, and some of the old masters definitely broke the moulds of their own time. My experiences of playing and planning concerts have shown me that communicating with people through the unspoken medium of music is very powerful. It doesn’t matter where a performance takes place, how informal or formal the venue, people can be moved by music no matter their background. To be completely immersed in a piece of music is a timeless experience, it takes you out of time, and that can be magical.”

The Director of Peninsula Arts, Dr Sarah Chapman, said:

“Bob brings a wealth of talent to the university, city and region and it is great to have him on the Peninsula Arts team. Music is an important part of the Peninsula Arts cultural offer, from supporting new up and coming talent to bringing the brightest names in music to Plymouth. Bob has some great ideas and I am excited to see how the music programme will grow over the next period.”

Peninsula Arts

The wide-ranging public arts programme at the University of Plymouth plays a pivotal role in building culture and art in the city and the South West.

The programme includes exhibitions, dance, films, music, performance and talks.

View Peninsula Arts events