The music of famed contemporary American pianist Robin Spielberg has never been easy to quantify. Fusing show tunes, New Age, and classical influences, Spielberg has sold hundreds of thousands of copies of her 17 studio albums and filled Carnegie Hall to capacity three times—all while working as a music therapist, TED speaker, author, and board member of the Ohio Arts Presenters Network. We caught up with Spielberg, who will be bringing her unique sound to The Performing Arts Center at Purchase College on April 16, to get a sense of just what drives her astonishing output.
How were you first attracted to music? There was never a time when music wasn’t part of my life. I grew up in a musical house, and I firmly believe a large part of it is genetic. My grandfather [Rubin Spielberg] played for the NBC Orchestra. I remember being a toddler, hearing songs on the radio and trying to accompany my mother, who was singing in the kitchen.
What motivates you to be so musically prolific? It is so funny you say that, because I don’t feel I’m particularly prolific, since I just have so much in my head that I haven’t recorded. When I record, I feel like it is a commitment, like getting married. I don’t record anything until I have lived with it for quite some time, and it has really breathed.
What can audience members expect from your upcoming performance? It’s not your momma’s piano recital. Some people expect to come in and have this classical experience, but it is not quite that. It’s going to be more of what I call a “piano conversation” full of humorous stories, asides, and multimedia. The Performing Arts Center is truly a beautiful theater, and there will also be a meet-and-greet afterward.
What do you feel lies ahead for you? You are the first person in the media I have told, but I am going to write a play. It’s going to be a one-woman show with the piano in it, and I am going to be playing all the characters. It will be super fun and it really is the next logical step for me