Marcus Roberts Trio and the Saito Kinen Festival Orchestra, Seiji Ozawa conducting, 2014


Marcus Roberts first performed as a soloist with symphony orchestra in 1992 with Maestra Marin Alsop (currently the Music Director for the Baltimore Symphony). Since that time, he has performed with orchestras all over the world, but most frequently with his long-time mentor, Maestro Seiji Ozawa. In 2003, Roberts premiered his ground-breaking arrangement of Gershwin’s “Concerto in F for Piano and Orchestra” with Ozawa in Japan with the New Japan Philharmonic and then in Europe, with the Berlin Philharmonic at their annual Wäldbuhne concert (A Gershwin Night (DVD), EuroArts 2003).

In April of 2013, Roberts premiered his first piano concerto, “Spirit of the Blues: Piano Concerto in C Minor”, with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Maestro Robert Spano. The concerto was dedicated jointly to Maestro Ozawa and the late Martin Luther King, Jr., and was premiered on the anniversary of Dr. King’s assassination, April 4, 2013. The structure of the concerto is informed in its different movements by works of such great composers as Beethoven, Ravel, Prokofiev and Bartok. The goal was to use musical form, thematic material, and jazz improvisation to bring jazz and classical musicians together. The concerto integrates both the piano and an entire jazz trio with the symphony orchestra. In 2014, Roberts and his trio were honored to return to Japan to share the stage Ozawa and the world-renowned Saito Kinen Orchestra. Speaking of his time in Japan, Roberts says, “To see Seiji Ozawa on the stage again and to share that stage with him was one of my happiest moments in a long time. Seiji is such an inspiration to me – he’s a true musical genius and a role model for all of us. To perform under his direction again with one of the greatest symphony orchestras in the world was just an incredible honor.”


REPERTOIRE AVAILABLE (arrangements by Marcus Roberts):

Rhapody in Blue (George Gershwin)

The ‘I Got Rhythm’ Variations (George Gershwin)

Yamekraw (James P. Johnson)

Concerto in F for Piano and Orchestra (George Gershwin)

Victory Stride (James P. Johnson)

Spirit of the Blues: Piano Concerto in C Minor (Marcus Roberts)