Dr Robert Taub
Arts Institute Director of Music
The Arts Institute (Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Business)
As Music Director for the Arts Institute at University of Plymouth, Robert Taub is excited about building and leading a collaborative programme involving fellow performing artists and colleagues within the University to bring top tier concert performances and broad-based music educational events to communities of all ages in Devon and the South West.
From New York’s Carnegie Hall to Hong Kong’s Cultural Centre to Germany’s avant-garde Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie, Robert Taub has been acclaimed internationally as a concert pianist and recording artist. He has performed as guest soloist with the world’s leading orchestras and conductors, including the MET Orchestra in Carnegie Hall with James Levine, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic, The Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, and many others. Robert Taub has also performed solo concerts on the Great Performers Series at New York’s Lincoln Center and other major series worldwide, and has been featured in international festivals, including the Saratoga Festival, the Lichfield Festival in England, San Francisco’s Midsummer Mozart Festival, Aspen Music Festival, and the Geneva International Summer Festival, among others. He has also initiated and led several concert series and festivals, including a highly touted series at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, where is only predecessor as Artist-in-Residence was TS Eliot.
Following the conclusion of his highly celebrated New York series of Beethoven Piano Sonatas, Taub completed a sold-out Beethoven cycle in London at Hampton Court Palace. His recordings of the complete Beethoven Piano Sonatas have been praised worldwide for their insight, freshness, and emotional involvement. In addition to performing, Robert Taub is an eloquent spokesman for music, giving frequent engaging and informal lectures and pre-concert talks. His book – Playing the Beethoven Piano Sonatas– has been published internationally by Amadeus Press and has become a standard for the Beethoven Sonata literature.
He has recorded the complete Sonatas of Beethoven and Scriabin, as well as works of Babbitt, Schumann, and Liszt, several of which have been selected as “critic’s favourites” by Gramophone, Newsweek,The New York Times, and The Washington Post. His most recently released recording is the Sessions Piano Concerto with James Levine and the Munich Philharmonic
Robert Taub has been in the vanguard of new music, having premiered piano concertos by Milton Babbitt (MET Orchestra, James Levine) and Mel Powell (Los Angeles Philharmonic), and making the first recordings of the Persichetti Piano Concerto (Philadelphia Orchestra, Charles Dutoit) and Sessions Piano Concerto. He has premiered six works of Milton Babbitt (solo piano, chamber music, 2nd Piano Concerto). Taub also formed collaborations with several younger composers, including Jonathan Dawe (USA), David Bessell (UK) and Ludger Brümmer (Germany) performing their 21st century works in America and Europe.
During his first term at the Institute for Advanced Study, Robert Taub initiated a concert series dedicated to the complete Beethoven Piano Sonatas. So popular were these concerts that he played each program three times to sold-out houses; the series was featured in the national press. In addition, Taub started a lunchtime series of informal discussions about music. In his subsequent two terms, he included chamber music in the concert series, bringing in world-renowned colleagues, with at least one work from every concert broadcast on NPR’s “Performance Today.” He also expanded the popular informal talks to include interviews with important young composers. As part of this series he arranged a special evening with James Levine and Milton Babbitt, discussing Babbitt’s 2nd Piano Concerto prior to his premiere performance of this work in Carnegie Hall (with Levine and the MET Orchestra).
Taub is featured in a PBS television program – Big Ideas– that highlights him playing and discussing Beethoven Piano Sonatas. Filmed during his final year at the Institute for Advanced Study, this program has been broadcast throughout the U.S. on PBS affiliates.
Dr. Taub is a Phi Beta Kappagraduate of Princeton where he was a University Scholar. As a Danforth Fellow he completed his doctoral degree at The Juilliard School where he received the highest award in piano. Taub has served as Artist-in-Residence at Harvard University and at UC Davis prior to his time at the Institute for Advanced Study. He has led music forums at Oxford and Cambridge Universities and The Juilliard School. Taub has also been Visiting Professor at Princeton University and at Kingston University (U.K.). Following his time at the Institute, he founded and directed the Musica Viva Concert Series and Festivalin New Jersey, which featured orchestral and chamber music of Beethoven, Ravel and Gershwin.
In addition to his recordings of the Beethoven Piano Sonatas and his book about them, Taub has prepared a new edition of the Beethoven Piano Sonatas for Schirmers Performance Editions, published by Hal Leonard Corporation. He has also performed several “historic pianoforte” concerts in the London area of Beethoven Sonatas, playing pianofortes – 1795 Longman and Broderip, 1816 Broadwood, and 1823 Streicher – specifically associated with Beethoven during his years of composition of particular Sonatas.
Having achieved many goals in the arena of the performing arts, Taub widened his focus and founded MuseAmi (May 2007) with the vision to empower everyone worldwide to more easily facilitate their innate musical creativity – to create, learn, collaborate, and share – and participate as fully as possible with the music they love. MuseAmi attracted a high-powered and closely-knit team of leading machine learning experts, signal processing engineers, and creative developers. Under Bob’s leadership, the company developed significant intellectual property that the company commercialized with several world-leading strategic partners, enabling wholly new levels of interactive participation in music – personalization of education and entertainment.
In 2016, Robert Taub returned to performing, teaching, and researching, with an immediate focus on Babbitt Centenary Celebrations that year. He is continuing research with re-examination of Beethoven source material for his Piano Sonatas while performing select concerts.
- “Beethoven, His Hands, and His Feet” The International Journal of Musicology, Vol.7, 2000 (Peter Lang: Europäischer Verlag der Wissenschaften.)
- “Beethoven” The Institute Letter, Institute for Advanced Study, Spring 1996
- “An Appreciation of Milton’s Piano Music” SONUS - Milton Babbitt: A 75th Birthday Celebration, Vol. 13, No.1, Fall 1992
- “The Art of Pedaling” Keyboard (“Masterclass” section) Serialized in 3 issues: Nov.1988, Dec.1988, Jan.1989
- “The Autograph of the First Movement of Beethoven’s Piano Trio Op.70 no.1 (Ghost)” Princeton Journal of the Arts and Sciences, Vol.1, No.2, Fall 1977, pp.78-103
- Playing the Beethoven Piano Sonatas (Published 2002, Amadeus Press/Hal Leonard Corporation)
Editions researched and prepared
- Beethoven Piano Sonatas(complete): researched and prepared new edition of the 32 Sonatas for Schirmer Performance Editions (Hal Leonard Corporation)
- Beethoven Triple Concertoin C major, Op. 56 for Violin, Cello, and Piano (International Music Company)
- Shostakovich Piano Trio in E minor, Op. 67 (International Music Company)
Discography (available on iTunes)
Beethoven : The Complete Piano Sonatas (10 CD set) VOX Classics
Volume I (VOX2 7514)
CD1 - Op.2/1; Op.27/1; Op.78; Op.53 (Waldstein)
CD2 - Op.2/2; Op.14/1; Op.14/2; Op.27/2 (Moonlight)
Volume II (VOX2 7529)
CD1 - Op.10/1; Op.10/2; Op.10/3
CD2 - Op.13 (Pathétique); Op.31/1; Op.101
Volume III (VOX2 7532)
CD1 - Op.7; Op.49/1; Op.49/2; Op.90
CD2 - Op.31/3; Op.54; Op.57 (Appassionata)
Volume IV (VOX2 7544)
CD1 - Op.26; Op.2/3; Op.109
CD2 - Op.31/2 (Tempest); Op.106 (Hammerklavier)
Volume V (VOX2 7549)
CD1 - Op.22; Op.79; Op.110
CD2 - Op.28 (Pastorale); Op.81a (Das Lebewohl); Op.111
Roger Sessions : Piano Concerto (1956) Oehms Classics (OC502)
James Levine, Münchner Philharmoniker
Scriabin : Complete Piano Sonatas (2-CDs) Harmonia Mundi (HM 2907266.67)
Also issued separately:
Scriabin : Piano Sonatas No. 2, 7, 8; Preludes Op. 22, 27, 37 (HM 907041)
Scriabin : Piano Sonatas No. 1, 6, 9; Preludes Op. 48, 74 (HM 907019)
Scriabin : Piano Sonatas No. 3, 4, 5, 10 (HM 907011)
Beethoven : Piano Sonatas Op.2 no.1, Op.111 (HM 905190)
Milton Babbitt : Complete Piano Works (70th Birthday commemoration) (HM 90516)
Schumann : Davidsbündlertänze and 2 Liszt transcriptions (HM 905133)
Mel Powell : “Duplicates”: Concerto for Two Pianos (1990) (HM 907096)
Los Angeles Philharmonic, David Alan Miller
Persichetti : Piano Concerto (1963) New World Records (NW 370-2)
Charles Dutoit, The Philadelphia Orchestra
Roger Sessions : Piano Concerto (1956) (NW 80443-2)
Paul Dunkel, The Westchester Philharmonic,
Bartok : Sonata; Shifrin: Responses; Babbitt: Three Compositions (CRI - SD 461)
Kirchner : Sonata
Works commissioned for Robert Taub
Piano Concerto No. 1 (2004) commissioned by the Wharton Center for the Performing Arts, Michigan State University. Premiered by Taub and MSU Orchestra, April 2004
Piano Concerto No. 2 (1998) – commissioned by the Dodge Foundation for Robert Taub and James Levine. First performance: Carnegie Hall, NYC, Taub, Levine, and the MET Orchestra Nov.1998.
Encore (2006) for violin and piano – commissioned by the Library of Congress. First performance: Library of Congress, Washington DC, May 2006
Piano Quartet (1995) for piano, violin, viola, and cello – commissioned by the Library of Congress. First performance: Kennedy Center, Washington DC, May 1996
Preludes, Interludes, and Postlude (1991) for solo piano First performance Univ. of Washington, April 1991.
Emblems (1990) for solo piano. First performance Merkin Hall, NYC 1990
Canonical Form (1983) for solo piano; commissioned by the Fromm Music Foundation at Harvard University. First performance May 1984 at Queen Elizabeth Hall, London.
Duplicates: Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra ( 1990). Commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic. World Premiere January 1990, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Robert Taub & Alan Feinberg, pianists; David Alan Miller, cond.
Apart, Together; a Piano Quintet (2000, Music for Galway, Ireland); composed for Taub and the Vanbrugh String Quartet
Married with three adult children, who are currently living in London and NYC
Hobbies include cycling, running, walking on Dartmoor, and restoring classic British and Italian motorcycles, one of which – a 1969 Norton Commando – was featured in the UK’s Classic Bike magazine