[ Dean Piano ]
Robert Blocker is internationally regarded as a pianist, for his leadership as an advocate for the arts, and for his extraordinary contributions to music education. A native of Charleston, South Carolina, he debuted at historic Dock Street Theater (now home to the Spoleto Chamber Music Series). He studied under the tutelage of the eminent American pianist, Richard Cass, and later with Jorge Bolet. Today, he concertizes throughout the world. Recent orchestral engagements include the Beijing and Shanghai Symphony orchestras, the Korean and Daejon Symphony orchestras, the Prague and Moscow chamber orchestras, the Monterrey Philharmonic and the Houston Symphony.
His appearances at the Beethoven Festival (Warsaw) and the Great Mountains International Music Festival (Korea, with Sejong) add to his acclaim. These appearances have won him critical praise: as noted in a Los Angeles Times review, he is a pianist of “…great skill and accomplishment, a measurable virtuoso bent and considerable musical sensitivity.” In 1995, Blocker was appointed the Henry and Lucy Moses Dean of Music and Professor of Piano at Yale University, and in 2006 he was named honorary Professor of Piano at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing.
His many contributions to the music community include service on the advisory boards for the Avery Fisher Artist Program, the Stoeger Prize at Lincoln Center, the Gilmore Artist Advisory Board, and the Curatorium of the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music in Budapest. In addition, he is a member of the Van Cliburn Board of Directors. Dean Blocker appears regularly on national radio and television as an artist and commentator and is active as a consultant to several major educational institutions and government agencies. In 2000, Steinway and Sons featured him in a film commemorating the tercentennial year of the piano, and his recording of three Mozart concertos appear on the Naxos label. In 2004, Yale University Press published The Robert Shaw Reader, a collection of Shaw’s writings edited by Robert Blocker. The volume received considerable acclaim and is now in its third printing.