Hailed as “The adventurous cellist” by The New Yorker Magazine, Robert P. Burkhart performs all across New York City’s diverse musical landscape. As a soloist, chamber musician, orchestral principal, section player, and Broadway musician, he has performed in most major concert halls in New York, in more than 30 states across the country, and internationally.
As chamber music collaborator, Robert has performed at Alice Tully Hall, Bargemusic, Carnegie Weill Recital Hall, Merkin Hall, and The Rose Studio at Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. He has been a guest artist with Absolute Ensemble, Fireworks Ensemble, Musica Reginae, Performers of Westchester, Perspectives Ensemble, and SONYC. Accompanying dance, he has performed with the Mark Morris Dance Group chamber ensemble and with renowned tap artist Savion Glover.
Passionate about fostering new works, Robert has commissioned pieces, collaborated with both established and student composers, and given premiere performances for over two decades. He has added to the repertoire with music for cello and piano by Rubin Khodeli and Andrew Waggoner, and with piano trios by Carl Schimmel and Jonathan Sheffer. He has performed with the American Modern Ensemble, Argento New Music Project, counter)induction, Da Capo Chamber Players, Electric Earth Concerts, The Hudson Trio, League of Composers, Newspeak, Proteus Ensemble, and The SEM Ensemble. Recent collaborations include Georg Friedrich Haas, Louis Karchin, Aaron Jay Kernis, Steve Mackey, Paul Moravec, Joan Tower, Chen Yi, and Charles Wourinen. He performed the New York premiere of John Harbison’s Abu Ghraib for cello and piano, and was the soloist in Augusta Read Thomas’s Passion Prayers for cello and chamber ensemble at the New York Times Center. He has coached student composers at Bard College Conservatory, Columbia University, Shenandoah Conservatory, and Yale University.
Robert began his professional orchestral career in New Orleans with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra. Since then, he has gone on to sit guest principal of the American Symphony Orchestral, Stamford Symphony, River Oaks Chamber Orchestra in Houston, and assistant principal of the Eastern Music Festival in Greensboro, NC. As principal cellist of the New York Symphonic Ensemble for several years, he was a featured soloist in some of Japan’s finest concert halls.
Not limited to classical music, Robert has backed Gene Bertoncini at the Jazz Standard, Herbie Hancock at Jazz at Lincoln Center, Anat Cohen at the Village Vanguard, and played the New York premiere of Uri Caine’s 3 Inventions for cello and piano with the composer at the piano. He has premiered chamber music by Bryce Dessner of the rock band The National and Glenn Kotche of Wilco.
Robert has recorded for numerous films and commercials, and his Prelude from Bach’s Suite Nr. 1 in G major on the American Express commercial “Don’t Take Chances. Take Charge.” has been heard by millions. He has performed in dozens of musicals on and off Broadway, been principal cello of the Encores orchestra, recorded several cast albums, and was lead cellist on Live from Lincoln Center’s national broadcast of The Light in the Piazza.
Robert’s major teachers include Paul Tobias at The Mannes College of Music and Uri Vardi at University of Wisconsin-Madison, and he has worked with Timothy Eddy, Aldo Parisot, and Janos Starker at festivals and masterclasses. In addition to teaching privately at his studio in Manhattan, Robert has taught cello and chamber music at The Calhoun School, Juilliard Pre-College, Mannes Prep, and Syracuse University. As a coach for audition takers, he has helped cellists, violinists, violists, and double bassists to win positions in major orchestras in New York City and around the country.
Robert’s CD 20/21: Music for Cello and Piano from the 20th and 21st Centuries, features pianist Blair McMillen and is available here on iTunes.
Cellist Robert Burkhart combines a deep commitment to the existing cello repertoire with what the New Yorker magazine calls an “adventurous” spirit in new music. With performance credits at Alice Tully Hall, Bargemusic, Carnegie Weill Recital Hall, Merkin Hall, and The Rose Studio at Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Robert has also appeared as a soloist throughout Japan as a member of the New York Symphonic Ensemble, and been featured in recital on WQXR’s “Young Artist Showcase.”
At the center of new music in New York, Robert has performed with the American Modern Ensemble, Argento New Music Project, Fireworks Ensemble, Newspeak, and SONYC. Recent collaborations include Uri Caine, Georg Friedrich Haas, Aaron Jay Kernis, Steve Mackey, Joan Tower, Charles Wourinen, and Chen Yi. He has performed the New York premiere of John Harbison’s Abu Ghraib for cello and piano, and was the soloist in Augusta Read Thomas’s Passion Prayers for cello and chamber ensemble at the New York Times Center.
Robert’s major teachers include Paul Tobias at The Mannes College of Music and Uri Vardi at University of Wisconsin-Madison, and he has worked with Timothy Eddy, Aldo Parisot, and Janos Starker at festivals and masterclasses. Robert has taught at Juilliard Pre-college, Mannes Prep, Syracuse University, and Music Conservatory of Westchester, and been artist-in-residence at Yale University and the Banff Centre for the Arts in Canada. His recent CD “20/21: Music for Cello and Piano from the 20th and 21st Centuries,” features pianist Blair McMillen and the premiere of a work for cello and piano by composer Andrew Waggoner. Robert’s recording of solo Bach on the American Express commercial “Don’t Take Chances. Take Charge.” has garnered national attention.