Robert Thies

A pianist of “unerring, warm-toned refinement, revealing judicious glimmers of power,” [Los Angeles Times] Robert Thies 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, Thies became the only American pianist to win first prize in a Russian piano competition since Van Cliburn’s famed triumph in Moscow in 1958.

This victory brought accolades from the White House, Senator Dianne Feinstein, Governor Pete Wilson, and Mayor Richard Riordan. The Los Angeles City Council declared February 16, 1996 "Robert Edward Thies Day," and Robert was featured on the July 1996 cover of Piano and Keyboard magazine. His win was announced in the International Herald Tribune, and the Los Angeles Times wrote a feature article, "Another American Pianist Invades Russia, Successfully."

Praised for his “thoughtful and intensely moving interpretations” Thies enjoys a diverse career as an orchestral soloist, recitalist, and chamber musician. He has already performed forty concerti with orchestras all over the world. In one season alone he performed thirteen different concerti, 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, Virginia Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Pasadena Symphony, and the Naples Philharmonic. His concerts have been broadcast throughout the United States, Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Bolivia, Hungary, Mexico, and New Zealand.

Mr. Thies, a Steinway artist, is a frequent recitalist in the United States and abroad, and he has developed a reputation for his “genuine” interpretations of intriguing and delicately balanced programs. He made his South American debut in Cochabamba, Bolivia in 2002, and followed this with a European tour. Under the sponsorship of Community Concerts, he completed a forty-city tour of the United States in 2001. In May 1999, he was honored with a special invitation to perform in the Hermitage Theater in St. Petersburg, Russia, built for Empress Catherine the Great. 

In Los Angeles, Thies has worked and recorded with many of the top studio musicians, and has worked with such film composers as James Newton Howard, James Horner, Danny Elfman, Mychael and Jeff Danna, Christopher Young, and Lalo Schifrin. His playing can be heard most recently on Mychael Danna’s Oscar winning score to The Life of Pi, and he was a featured pianist on Danny Elfman’s concert piece: Serenada Schizophrana. In 2010 Grammy winning conductor, Lucas Richman, invited him to join a full symphony orchestra on a North American tour of John Williams’ Star Wars in Concert.

Thies’s recordings can be found on the Centaur, Albany, Golden Tone, and Denouement Records labels. He has also made numerous classical recordings for Yamaha Disklavier, featuring the music of Prokofiev, Ravel, Brahms, and Beethoven. He has premiered and recorded works written for him, such as Stu Phillip's Variations for Piano and Orchestra, and Kevin Kaska's Fantasy for Piano and Orchestra, and premiered many works by Austrian 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 Croatian flutist, Damjan Krajacic. In the Fall of 2012 he released a follow-up duet album with Krajacic, Blue Landscapes, of original compositions and improvisations.

Mr. Thies is sought after as a master class teacher, chamber music coach, lecturer, and adjudicator across the globe. He currently serves on the faculty at the Colburn School of Performing Arts in downtown Los Angeles. He has also just been appointed Director of Chamber Music at the European American Musical Alliance (EAMA).  This summer program offers lessons in composition, conducting and chamber music at the historic Schola Cantorum in Paris, France – taught in the tradition of the legendary Nadia Boulanger.

Though born on the East Coast, Thies 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.  For more information, please visit: www.RobertThies.org