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Work Samples

20 Trees

Twenty Trees - Lyrical and romantic

Viviana.mp3

Viviana - mysterious and evocative...

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About Robert

Baltimore County

Robert Hitz's picture
Robert Hitz is a composer, pianist, and master teacher. He is the quintessential modern artist – his music spans genres and influences, and is open to all great musical ideas. Although classically trained at the Peabody Institute and Syracuse University, Robert began playing and composing through improvisation.   “Passion permeates his music – powerful” (L. Billingsly, RSI). Whether in live concert or his recordings, Robert is an engaging and lyrical performer. He has recorded 4 solo CDs and 3... more

Preparing for New Recordings

Most of my music is created through improvisation, and I’ve been composing and performing new pieces over the past several years. As I review the new work, I recognize I have a body of work suitable for a recording, and I also have several compositions to be released as singles. Hearing these new pieces, audiences have requested recordings of them — so it is time to get that done. A solo recording is my primary goal for 2019.

The one piece I’m most excited about came to me in a dream while I was on a cruise with my father. It repeated in my head all night long, and in the morning I raced to write it down before we disembarked. Perhaps because we met a beautiful Latina on this trip, the piece is a yet unnamed Cancion.

Plans are also in place for a second recording by the newly formed Numinus Trio. Stay tuned...

Opening the Red Door to Touring

I came up with a concept for a project integrating paintings, audience discussion, and improvised music, and decided to call it The Red Door is Open. I proposed the idea to Kimberley Lynne at University of Baltimore and she loved it. So we invited Maxine Taylor and Jessica Damen to bring their paintings, and Kimberley jumped in to moderate the discussion. The response from audience members and the artists was nothing short of incredible so we did it again – this time inviting painter and saxophonist Jeffrey Hoover to join in. Again, we had an enthusiastic response to the lively discussion and the music created in the moment.

Now that we’ve tested the concept, I’d like to take the show on the road – so to speak. I am partnering with artist/director John C. Wilson to package this concept for colleges, universities, and art centers around the United States. We will find local artists in each city where we perform, improvise musical responses either solo or with other musicians, and John will serve as the moderator. I’m excited to share this fresh inter-arts program with a wider audience.

Composing for Film and Theatre

Back in the 1990’s I began composing music for student films at MICA. I enjoyed creating scores to support mood or advance the action of the film. I continue to write for film, video, and theatre.

More recently it was great fun to write the music for Kneebouncers, a series of children’s videos created by Kurt Dommermuth. My goal was to create an atmosphere for the cheerful animated characters that conveyed their charisma and a tonal palette pleasing to children. All were recorded in single takes scored to the running video.

Director John C. Wilson approached me to write music for his production of A Fierce Longing, a revival that was produced for Baltimore Theatre Project’s 40th anniversary. This intense play explores the life of novelist Yukio Mishima, and I loved being able to explore Japanese motifs and instrumentation.

Performing Solo Concerts, and with the Numinus Trio

My most recent solo concerts were performed at An die Musik and the Wright Theater at the University of Baltimore. Some of my greatest pleasure comes from playing with others, and I have formed the Numinus Trio with tenor Lee Moore and pianist Felicia Clarke. We perform both classical repertoire and our own compositions. This trio has a base of improvisation and exploration in new works and frequently adds to existing works with new improvised works based on the originals. The most recent collaboration is setting Jeffrey Hoover’s “Water” poems to music.

Nurturing New Recordings by Studio Members

In recent years there have been an explosion of recordings by members of my teaching studio, largely showcasing original compositions under my artistic direction. This phenomenon highlights the creative growth of these students, as well as access to affordable recording time provided by recording engineer Lee Moore.

Here I want to feature two students who’ve been with me for many years. No one would have believed it if five years ago someone had said Dick Gatchell would be writing love songs and recording a CD. Now in his 80s, Dick has played piano most of his life but songwriting is new to him. Felicia Clarke came to me as an already accomplished pianist playing the classical repertoire. Working with me, she began writing her own compositions which are filled with passion and power. Ora Chaya Brock began studying piano with me as a child and now as a young adult is a imaginative composer.

Mr. Gatchell’s “It’s All About Love” rejoices with eight original love songs. Ms. Clarke’s “Beautifully Blemished” introduces her romantic piano compositions. Ms. Brock’s “Revelation” demonstrates her entrepreneurial spirit and musical accomplishment. Here is a sample from each artist.

Providing Performance Opportunities for Studio Members

I love watching people grow, and artists grow incredibly rapidly when given the opportunity to perform. Unlike the tradition of an annual recital, I like to provide my students with at least six performance opportunities each year (for those who wish to perform publicly). The venues and the formats vary from assisted living centers and house concerts, to churches, country clubs, theatres, and cabaret spaces.

One thing that thrills me is to witness the interactions and collaborations between studio members of different ages and experience. Everyone learns from each other, and rather than a competitive environment, we create one of support and encouragement. I’m proud to share some of their performances.

As testiment to this growth as performers and musicians, we are switching up our cabaret format this year. Rather than a musical variety show format with many performers, many studio members are ready for larger challenges and will be performing their own sets of music (vocal or instrumental) in preparation for creating full solo concerts.

Robert's Curated Collection

View Robert's favorite works from other Baker Artists