Pianist, writer, lecturer, inspiring teacher – and a leading authority on the music of Debussy and Ravel – Paul Roberts has earned the admiration of audiences, critics and fellow professionals world wide. “Paul Roberts’ master classes and public lectures immerse the listeners in a magical world of images and ideas . . . His communicative abilities, whether as performer, writer or teacher, are without equal,” wrote Harold Gray, the founder of Portland Piano International, and director until his retirement in 2013. Invited every year to the summer festival of Portand Piano International since its inception in 1999, Paul Roberts has established a unique profile in Portland, where he regularly performs, gives master classes and private tuition.
Photo – Viktor Erik EmanuelIn Europe Paul Roberts is the artistic director of the international summer school for pianists Music at Chateau d’Aix, in southern France. In London he teaches at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, where he has been awarded an Honorary Fellowship (FGS), and where he is currently researching his next book, Reading Liszt.
His acclaimed Reflections: The Piano Music of Maurice Ravel (Amadeus, 2012) followed his first two books: a biography Debussy (Phaidon, 2008) and Images: The Piano Music of Claude Debussy (Amadeus, 1996). Images has become a seminal text on the subject. ‘It is a complete picture of Debussy’s poetic world,’ Richard Goode has written, ‘and is one of the few indispensable books on music that I know.’
Recordings include two discs of Debussy’s piano music and his most recent Ravel & Liszt. ‘Roberts doesn’t play like an Englishman,’ wrote a critic for BBC Music Magazine on the release of his first Debussy disc. ‘Space, concentration and fire take their turns in this fine start to a Debussy cycle. He characterises directly and, at speed, fiercely. In slower music there is unhurried poise and fluidity.’
Among extensive appearances throughout the United States Paul Roberts has been a guest of the Juilliard School in New York, the Peabody Institute, the Golandsky Institute, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, the University of Washington and Portland Piano International. He has presented at the International Keyboard Institute and Festival in New York.