Robin Spielberg was classically trained as a pianist and began composing as a young girl. After earning a B.F.A. with high honors from New York University, Ms. Spielberg began a performance career as a soloist in New York City’s finest piano rooms. It was in these rooms that Spielberg continued to hone her craft and find her voice as a composer. Listeners returned time and time again to hear Robin’s unique style. In 1993, she recorded a CD containing eleven of her original compositions.
This recording, “Heal of the Hand” was picked up by the North Star Music label the following year and went on to become the label’s #1-selling recording for both 1994 and 1995. “Heal of the Hand” quickly placed Robin at the forefront of the contemporary music scene. “There’s fire in the playing and rigor in the writing” said Musician Magazine of her debut release. Ms. Spielberg’s masterful compositional technique and her extraordinary gift for creating enchanting melodies has won her a place among the nation’s most respected contemporary pianists, as well as a slot of Steinway’s Artist Roster.
Following her best-selling debut on North Star Music, Robin signed on with the label to record five more CDs. “Spirit of the Holidays” was released in fall 1994, a CD of traditional Christmas music with piano, cello and guitar. Her off-Broadway musical for children, Balloonland, written with Barry Shulak, premiered at The Atlantic Theater Company in New York City after a summer production in Burlington, Vermont. The Actor’s Equity Association granted money to the production so that it could tour children’s hospitals throughout the city.
North Star released two more recordings in 1995. The first, a recording of standards and theater song “Unchained Melodies” was inspired by Robin’s years in New York piano rooms. Recording songs taught to her by her parents as a girl and requested songs from the piano rooms of New York City, the CD became a best seller for North Star. It also earned a prestigious award in Hong Kong, listed as one of the “top 500 recorded CDs of all time”.
The second release of 1995, “In the Heart of Winter”, was a venture into new territory. Containing both traditional music for the holidays and Spielberg’s originals for the season, the CD contained ensemble work including fiddle, bodhran, percussion, flute, whistle, synths, and cello. By this time, fans were clamoring for a follow-up to “Heal of the Hand” and in 1996, Robin’s solo original sequel was released, “Songs of the Spirit”. In 1997, Robin recorded another solo album of originals, but this time incorporated a small ensemble. The late and great Scottish fiddler Johnny Cunningham is featured on several tracks. The musical chemistry was so fine between these two musicians that Johnny invited Robin to be a guest artist on his CD project, “The Soul of Christmas”, a two-CD project with narration by author Thomas Moore. PBS made a special around the project, and it was on the set of “The Soul of Christmas” that Robin met singers Cathie Ryan and Susan McKeown.
By this time, Robin’s concert career began to flourish. She embarked on a twenty-city tour in support of her last two releases which included her sold-out Carnegie Hall debut at the Weill Recital Hall. Famed piano-makers Steinway & Sons invited Robin to become an official “Steinway Artist.”
In 1998, Robin reunited with Cathie Ryan and Susan McKeown to make a project of their own, entitled “Mother”, a CD that celebrated mothers and motherhood. Once again, Johnny Cunningham was featured as a guest along with other Celtic music superstars Joannie Madden (whistles), John Doyle, Gerry O’Beirne (guitars). North Star Music decided to release the CD and it became a hit in the gift store market.
Robin became pregnant during this project and gave birth in September 1998 to a baby girl. (The lullaby Robin composed for the CD “Mother” was played in the delivery room). Several television appearances for “Mother” brought the recording much attention, including CBS Saturday Morning, LifeTime Live, and ABC World News This Morning. In May 1999, Robin, Cathie, and Susan toured together with a band to promote “Mother”, and Robin recorded a CD of lullabies entitled “Beautiful Dreamer: Lullabies for the Parent and Child”. Robin Spielberg’s interest in music and healing grew when she witnessed first-hand the positive effect music had on her own baby daughter (born prematurely) during her four-month stay in the neo-natal intensive care unit. “Beautiful Dreamer” was hailed by Child Magazine as one of “The Best of 2000”, and also received praise in Fit Pregnancy, Parenting, and The Washington Post.
In the Summer of 2000, Robin started her own independent record label, playMountain Music with her husband Larry Kosson. playMountain’s debut release was “Dreaming of Summer.” “This album may be the finest collection of songs she has ever recorded,” hailed WindandWire.com. “The music has an emotional and musical complexity that is refreshing.” The CD won a ‘finalist award’ from New Age Voice Magazine in the ‘best acoustic instrumental CD’ category. Robin performed in 25 U.S. cities in celebration of the new CD, and it was later released in Korea under the title “Remembering You.” The CD topped the contemporary instrumental charts there for several weeks. She also composed music for two of David Mamet’s children’s plays that received revivals at the Atlantic Theater Company in their 2000 season: The Frog Prince and The Poet and the Rent. Robin’s tenth recording, With a Song in My Heart, was released on playMountain Music.
It was around this time that Spielberg and Kosson formed another company, SMG Artists (Spobs Management Group) to serve as an artist booking agency. Her long-time goal of having a publishing company, record label, and booking agency all in-house was coming to fruition. Two holiday recordings followed in the fall of 2002: “American Chanukah” and “The Christmas Collection”. It was also in this year that Robin was named the Celebrity Spokesperson for the American Music Therapy Association.
In Fall 2003, Robin performed for 1300 music therapists at the AMTA national convention in Minneapolis. Robin visits hospitals, community centers, and schools giving seminars on music therapy throughout her touring season. Her ’03 touring schedule included 22 concerts and educational programs in Montana as well as programs in Ohio, Indiana, and California. By this time the SMG roster had grown to include eight artists/groups.
In 2004, Robin made her Asian concert debut at the renowned Seoul Arts Center. The performance was televised throughout Asia. A commercial in Hong Kong for Mitsubishi featured Robin’s piano composition, “The Promise”. The digital download service from Apple Computers, iTunes, featured Robin’s recordings, helping them gain new popularity among fans of the service. playMountain Music released Robin’s ten year retrospective in the fall. The CD earned accolades from audiences and critics alike. A special celebration concert tour capped the accomplishment.
In 2005, Robin and her family re-located to rural Pennsylvania to allow for the expansion of SMG Artists. Prior to leaving NJ, Robin taped a segment for PBS Nightly News for their series on the “digital music revolution.” The segment aired in Fall of 2005.
In 2006, Robin’s composition, “Walk With Me” was used as a “compulsory waltz” in the Great American Ballroom Competition on PBS. The West Florida Youth Ballet choreographed an evening of dance set to Robin’s work. Robin also returned to Korea for concerts in Seoul and Busan. A CD compilation of her work entitled “Remembering You” was released in Asia.
In March of 2007, Robin embarked on a month long tour with Steinway and piano technician in tow(!) through Montana and Idaho. Performing 32 times in a 28-day period, she drove thousands of miles and stayed on a cattle ranch during calving season. The concert tour also included several workshops and seminars on music therapy in hospitals, senior centers, schools, and community centers.
In 2008, the release of Robin’s 15th CD, “A New Kind of Love” on playMountain Music, earned spectacular reviews and received a nomination for “best piano album” from radio programmers. Tours through the southwest and New England states in support of the album followed its release.
In 2009, The Great American Ballroom Challenge once again used Robin’s music for its competition, this time “A Song for Jennie”. Robin joined the “social media revolution” with active accounts on Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace, linking her to fans around the globe.
In 2010, Robin and her husband/business partner Larry Kosson also joined forces with The Roots Agency, creating The Roots Agency/SMG Artists, a company representing touring acts in the U.S. and abroad. Robin signed a sub-publishing deal with Sony/ATV for Asian territories. In May, she returned to Korea and toured with Korean percussionist Chiwoo Choi. The tour included a concert in Seoul’s famous LG Arts Center. Robin’s 16th recording, “Sea to Shining Sea: a Tapestry of American Music” was released September 21, 2010. The CD climbed to the top 20 on the zonemusicreporter.com radio chart. Robin started a blog.
In 2011, Robin began touring with her “American Tapestry Trio” (Catherine Bent, cello; Kate MacLeod, fiddle/guitar/vocals; and Robin, piano/percussion/vocals.)
In 2013, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Robin’s debut CD, “Heal of the Hand”, an anniversary commemorative edition was released on playMountain Music. Robin’s memoir, 8 years in the works, Naked on the Bench: My Adventures in Pianoland was published in softcover, e-book, and in audiobook versions with Robin as the narrator. The book was featured on several NPR stations and in book clubs throughout the country. Robin embarked on a 25-city book-release concert tour in support of the book, and in November, Robin was the “keynote performer” at the American Music Therapy Association’s national conference in Jacksonville, FL. The book won a gold medal in the 2014 Reader’s Favorite International Book Contest.
In May 2014, Robin gave her very own TED talk at TEDx Lancaster at Millersville University. Her talk was on the transformative power of music and music therapy.
Robin returned to the studio in December of 2014 to record an album of all new original piano solos, her first recording of this type since 2008. The CD, “Another Time, Another Place” was released in April 2015 to wonderful reviews/acclaim, and charted on the ZMR (Zone Music Reporter) Radio charts at #3. It earned Robin nominations for “Best Solo Piano Album” from both Whisperings Solo Piano Radio and the Zone Music Awards. In 2016, Robin was invited to perform in California and New Orleans for both award ceremonies, and managed to uphold her outstanding track record of not winning. She filmed a music video with Larry Kosson as director of the title track. Cellist Megan Knapp joined the American Tapestry ensemble and performed concerts with Robin and Kate MacLeod on the west coast.
Robin and her husband/business partner Larry Kosson left the Roots Agency partnership and began their own talent agency, Kosson Talent. The company represents national touring acts such as Black Violin, Jimmy Webb, Tiempo Libre, Hypnotic Brass and more (kossontalent.com). The couple attends over a dozen arts conferences and consortium meetings including SXSW in Austin and Arts Presenters in NYC, and are regular industry panel participants.
In the Fall of 2016, Spielberg was elected to the Ohio Arts Presenters Network Board of Directors, and currently serves as Board Secretary. She also began working as an Adjunct Professor at Millersville University, teaching in the music industry department in between concert dates.
In 2017 Robin began working on new compositions for solo piano while embarking on a concert tour. Concert dates for the 2017-2018 season include performances in South Carolina, New York, Florida, Texas, New Hampshire and Michigan.