Robert is an award winning pianist , composer, and teacher. He has led his award winning group - Robert Mitchells’ Panacea – since 2000 and has always regularly performed solo as it is at the heart of heart and origins of his approach. Robert won ‘Best Jazz Album’ at the 2009 BBC Worldwide Awards (from legendary DJ Gilles Peterson). He is also the creator of the Leftitude Festival.
In 2003/4 Robert was privileged to open for Branford Marsalis (Barbican Centre, London), and Wayne Shorter (The Brighton Dome) – performing a solo set at both events. Robert also has performed solo in Belgium, and Sweden. Since late 2009 Robert has also been proud to be a Steinway Artist, and the latest solo recording was made on one of their most prized instruments (the D concert grand, at the wonderful Capstone Theatre, Liverpool, UK).
Robert’s solo piano albums EQUINOX (2007), and THE GLIMPSE (2013), have both changed and expanded his approach as a musician. The new solo album THE GLIMPSE showcases Robert’s developing fascination with left-hand only approaches to composition and improvisation. It is his 8th album. For forthcoming live performances, there will be the chance to allow explorations into audience interaction as a basis for creating music/improvisations, and the creative use of the looping pedal. Free improvisation is also as likely as a completely composed piece. Robert will tour the UK – his first as solo pianist – in 2013.
Robert curated and performed in a successful solo jazz piano festival at the Pizza Express, London, in 2007. Lifting The Lid - featured Django Bates, John Taylor, Bheki Mseleku, Zoe Rahman, John Escreet. Robert is very proud to have created LEFTITUDE , and for it to be presented at the wonderful London venue – The Forge. Mar 2013 will see the first edition of LEFTITUDE – a celebration of piano music for Left Hand Only. This festival will features both classical and Jazz artists performing new works, originals, and classic solo piano repertoire for Left Hand Only.
Robert has long searched for a way to present music that celebrates left hand only piano playing and has spent much time researching its history. In classical music (Zichy, Wittgenstein, Godowsky) through to jazz (Phineas Newborn Jr, Borah Bergman, Kenny Drew Jr) there have been a number of great pianists who have defined left hand only composition, teaching and performance. Bud Powell’s style of playing was famously economic with use of his left hand, and he famously performed left hand only in response to criticism from the great Art Tatum. Fats Waller studied with Leopold Godowsky who famously created left hand only arrangements of Chopin’s classic piano etudes. Bill Evans performed with his trio with only his left hand during a week at the Village Vanguard in 1963 because his right was incapacitated. There are more moments of left hand only piano playing in the history of jazz but they are not widely acknowledged as having much importance in the development of the genre. One of the aims of the LEFTITUDE festival, is to open up the discussion, and bring much needed light to this deserving art from in general.
Robert is also performing at the 2013 Leftitude Festival. Visit his artist page.