Here at Classical Revolution Cleveland, we want to start featuring some of our veteran performers, particularly those with interesting projects and musical backgrounds. Say hello to Rob Kovacs! He’s a Cleveland-native, and one of the most versatile pianists I’ve ever worked with!
Who are you? Where are you from, originally? When and how did you form?
“I’m Rob Kovacs. I grew up in the Greater Cleveland Area. I formed in 1982 from a zygote.”
In a city that bustles with independent classical music projects, what makes you/your ensemble unique?
“I play a lot of pop and rock music in addition to classical, and I also compose, which is usually in the form of songs, but also in the form of short-film scores and e-cards. I tend to gravitate to more contemporary classical music. And no matter what music I’m playing, I keep the audience in mind and try to keep them engaged. Oh, and I’m an INTJ (though sometimes INTP) which is a rare personality type especially for a musician.”
How do you focus on education/outreach/community engagement?
“I enjoy playing for the Cleveland Clinic’s Arts and Medicine Institute. In the past, I had the privilege to work for a Gramercy Arts Performing Arts high school in New York City which was a wonderful experience. Occasionally, I will participate in an assembly with Roots of American Music. I also enjoy teaching private piano lessons both out of my home and at the Aurora School of Music.”
Long-term plans and artistic goals?
“Number one is finish recording a record. I started recording in February and have made steady progress. It will be an album of piano-based songs that I’ve written of the years, some with a stripped down arrangements and others with a full band.”
Craziest gig or performance memory?
“Basically every night that I played at Howl at the Moon.”
Most moving/satisfying/affirming performance memory?
“That would be the time I gave the world’s first solo performance of Steve Reich’s “Piano Phase.” I was never more nervous in my life, shaking uncontrollably 15 minutes before I was about to play in front of 300-400 people including Steve Reich himself. I went out there. Played. And after I finished and the rush of applause replaced the brief silence, I was overcome with emotion and just started balling. It was quite a feeling of accomplishment.”
The video of the performance can be seen here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AnQdP03iYIo
Favorite NON-musical activity?
“Ultimate Frisbee. I love pretty much all sports but this is one of my favorites. I play pickup games every Sunday with Cleveland West Side Ultimate Frisbee.”
Favorite NON-classical music and/or artistic inspiration?
“I relate most to rock music in its most broad definition. I grew up listening to the Beatles and Led Zeppelin and later, bands like Radiohead and Sufjan Stevens. Writing, recording and performing rock songs is a true passion.”
What do you love most about Cleveland’s independent classical music scene?
“I love seeing musicians finding other places to play besides the concert hall. Keep bringing music to where people are – bars, restaurants, lobbies, sidewalks, wherever.”
*A note from Rob: “If people would like to know more about where I’m playing and what musical projects I’m working on, the best way is to join my mailing list – http://eepurl.com/PCHev I send emails about once a month and I’m currently sending out a free song off the upcoming record. I’m also on twitter @robertkovacs and facebook at facebook.com/enderrob. “