Rob Schwimmer is a composer-pianist, thereminist, vocalist and Continuum player who has performed and recorded throughout the world. Praised by The New York Times for his "Virtuosity, magic, and humor” Rob has just completed his long awaited 2nd solo CD “Heart Of Hearing” for theremin, Haken Continuum and solo piano. Known for his work as a solo artist (and as a founding member of the highly acclaimed Polygraph Lounge duo with multi-instrumentalist Mark Stewart of Bang On A Can Allstars/Paul Simon) Rob's piano playing on his first solo CD "Beyond The Sky" has been widely lauded in both classical and jazz publications: Hailed as "Extraordinary" in Gramophone and "Shaping up to be the finest solo piano CD of the year" in The NYC Jazz Record while The New York Times praised his "…machine-gun speed and clarity." Schwimmer also recently completed 2 commissions from The Metropolitan Museum while Polygraph Lounge has received and performed 2 commissions from Carnegie Hall for full length concerts. Among the long list of artists Schwimmer has worked with are Simon and Garfunkel,Wayne Shorter, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Stevie Wonder, Bobby McFerrin, Willie Nelson, Paul Simon, The Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Gotye, Chaka Khan, Laurie Anderson, Bette Midler, Queen Latifah, producer Arif Mardin, Adam Guettel, Gotye’s Ondioline Orchestra, Mark Morris Dance Group, producer Peter Katis, Paul Bley, The Boston Pops, Mary Cleere Haran, T-Bone Walker, Sam Rivers, Ethan Iverson, Marc Shaiman, David Krakauer, Christian Marclay, Matthew Barney, Ang Lee, Maria Schneider, Michel Gondry, Mark Morris Dance Group, Trey Anastasio, The Klezmatics, Bernie Worrell, Sxip Shirey, Nels Cline, Annette Peacock, Gwyneth Paltrow, Marshall Brickman, Karen Black, Larry Campbell, Teresa Williams, Josh Groban, Mabou Mines, Geoffrey Holder, John Cale, Steve Buscemi, Iva Bittova, Theo Bleckmann, John Stubblefield, Burt Bacharach, The Roches, Jack Quartet, Scott Robinson, Edie Brickell, producer Teo Macero, Hal Willner, Vernon Reid, The Everly Brothers, Ethel, James Emery, Bela Fleck, Lenny Kaye, Kurt Vonnegut, Tamar Muskal, Anjani Thomas, Odetta, Drepung Loseling Tibetan Monks, Sussan Deyhim, producer John Simon, Joseph Jarman, Fred Anderson, Alwin Nikolai/ Murray Louis Dance Company, Marc Ribot, Frank London, C&C Music Factory and Sammy Davis Jr. among others.
Rob is a featured ondioline/keyboards/theremin soloist (as well as playing keyboards and theremin) with Gotye’s Ondioline Orchestra which has played to acclaim from National Sawdust and Roulette in NYC to Moogfest (Durham, NC) to Tasmania and The Sydney Festival (both in Jan 2018.) Rob also did arrangements for Gotye’s upcoming release. Rob is also a leading player of the Haken Continuum fingerboard. Recent recording sessions on Continuum include Paul Simon, Esperanza Spalding and Trey Anastasio.
A founding member and co-director of The NY Theremin Society, Rob is one of the top theremin virtuosos in the world and has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning, The NY Times, Wall St Journal, WNYC, WQXR and the popular PBS series "History Detectives”. Rob is the thereminist for Ethan Iverson’s (The Bad Plus) “Pepperland,” a full length dance piece for The Mark Morris Dance Group which premiered in Liverpool in 2017 as part of Liverpool’s “Sgt. Pepper at 50” celebration. His appearances as theremin soloist include The Orchestra of St. Luke's at Caramoor (which included Rob's theremin arrangement of Bernard Herrmann's "Scene d'Amour" from Vertigo,) The Boston Pops in a world premier of “Nosferatu” at Symphony Hall, The Moab Music Festival, The Little Orchestra at Lincoln Center, with Bobby McFerrin at Carnegie Hall and Simon & Garfunkel's world tours (including the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 25th Anniversary show at Madison Square Garden) where he also played keyboards and sang. In addition to his CD Theremin Noir (with Uri Caine and Mark Feldman,) Rob has performed as featured thereminist on Trey Anastasio's CD Traveler, Matthew Barney’s epic movie Cremaster 3, the 2009 R.W. Goodwin feature Alien Trespass, CBS television series Now and Again and A&E's Breakfast With the Arts. He was chosen to perform in a sold out concert at the Disney Concert Hall (LA) as part of legendary The 10 Piece Theremin Orchestra. Rob was recently interviewed by Faith Salie (Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me) for CBS Sunday Morning and The NY Theremin Society concert was filmed as part of the same segment about the resurgence of the theremin. Schwimmer premiered a new silent movie soundtrack (The Fall of the House of Usher--1928) featuring live theremin at The NY Theremin Society's recent residency at Bucknell University and given its NYC premiere at The Tribeca New Music Festival.
He composed the score for Cynthia Wade's 2008 Academy Award winner "Freeheld" in the Documentary Short category as well as collaborating on David Frankel's Oscar winner "Dear Diary" for Dreamworks (their first Oscar) in the Live Action Short in 1997. Rob's compositions have been featured in theater, television series and movies, silent films, documentaries and feature films as well as Rob's continuing series of solo concerts.
He has performed at venues all over the world including Carnegie Hall, the Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), Weiner Konzerthaus, Tokyo Dome, Madison Square Garden, The Kennedy Center, The Sydney Festival, The Metropolitan Museum, The Stone, The Museum of Modern Art, The Blue Note, CBGB’s, The Stone and the Colosseum (Rome).
"(One of) downtown's best piano talents" - The New Yorker
"Brainy and dreamy" - San Diego News
"Theremin master" - The New York Times