The Ortner-Roberts Duo was formed in 2007. The two internationallyacclaimed artists Susanne Ortner-Roberts and Tom Roberts joined together tospecialize in a unique musical genre they call “Hot World Chamber Music”, in which new music is created from a diverse array of historic materials.
Excerpt of the liner notes, written by Renee Silberman: "...when we listen to Tom and Susanne, we are privy to the intimate language of twins. These two are halves of a whole, she the lace-maker, he the creator of the foundation. The couple carries on their dialogue in public, their art art is non-verbal, and they invite us to hear them communicate.[...] The spirit of this disc is delicately poetic. There is plenty of movement and action, but even so, the essence is tender and romantic". [...]
»I can't believe I am hearing only two musicians! Where is the orchestra hiding?« - F. Newman, Senior Director for A&R Columbia Records, Sony
" The musical intuition between the two is truly miraculous!“ - Augsburger Allgemeine Zeitung
When a passionate clarinet meets a "hot" piano, the sparks fly – not only musically.
The German clarinetist Susanne Ortner-Roberts and the American pianist Tom Roberts met 2006 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania while performing. Subsequently they developed a concert repertoire that can only be described as "Hot World Chamber Music“.
Hot ... was the word used to describe hard swinging jazz music of the twenties and thirties, as opposed to the sweet bands who gained in popularity during the Depression. This was exciting music that inspired movement, from the tapping of toes to extravagant exploits on the dance floor. The Ortner-Roberts Duo feature many superlative examples of Hot Music, one of the highlights being the music of the Benny Goodman Trio, painstakingly recreated note for note from the original recordings. Additionally they perform the music of Benny's chief rival, Artie Shaw, and the sizzling sounds of the Creole clarinetists of New Orleans. From the piano bench comes scorching stomps from Jelly Roll Morton, and the refined Mozartean heat of Teddy Wilson. They also spice up many arrangements by incorporating the funky New Orleanspiano stylings of James Booker and Progfessor Longhair.
World … The Ortner–Roberts Duo explore the rich traditions of world music, and discover little known treasures, occasionally combining the results of their discoveries into an eclectic musical gumbo. Calypso from Trinidad, Tango from Argentina, Greek Rembetika, French Valse Musette, Klezmer from Eastern Europe, Flamenco from Spain, Beguine from Martinique, Turkish music, and the passionate music of the Gypsies from India to Spain. And the unexpected places where the worlds collide.
Chamber Music... The concert is presented in the manner of a chamber concert with a difference, lively comedic banter, and anecdotes concerning the original composers and performers. The Ortner-Roberts Duo also create the illusion of more than two instruments and other instruments. By blending and fusing genres, and incorporating classical themes and techniques, they succeed in the balancing of stretching between tradition and modernity.
"Seldom has one experienced music performed with so much joy, enthusiasm, and passion as with the Ortner-Roberts Duo.“ Augsburger Allgemeine Zeitung
Tom Roberts is one of theleading exponents of early jazz piano in the world today. He has performed on “TheTonight Show“ and “A Prairie Home Companion” with Leon Redbone.
Tom arranged and performed the music with Vince Giordano and The Nighthawks for the soundtrack of Martin Scorsese’s film “The Aviator”. He has also arranged music for the syndicated PRI show “RiverwalkJazz, Live from the Landing with the Jim Cullum Jazz Band”, and for Wynton Marsalis and “The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra”.
He was the featured pianist at the International Stride Piano Summit in Zurich, Switzerland 2001and 2009. Tom lived in New Orleans between 1989 and 1994, and performed in allthe major jazz clubs and on the riverboats. He preformed frequently at both “TheJazz and Heritage Festival” and “The French Quarter Festival” with a specialsolo appearance at “The Professor Longhair Society- Piano Night at Tipitina’s”.
Tom has been featured multiple times with Dick Hyman at the prestigious Jazz In July series at New York’s 92nd St. Y and hasperformed twice at New York’s Carnegie Hall.
He continues to tourworldwide and perform with bands from New Orleans and New York, including the Original Dixieland Jazz Band and the Louisiana Repertory Jazz Ensemble.
Besides his pianisticartistry Tom is a versatile music historian and has contributed articles forthe magazine “Piano Today”, and is a frequent guest at National Public Radio.
German clarinetist Susanne Ortner-Roberts is internationally acclaimed both as asoloist and as a member of the German Klezmer Quartet “Sing Your Soul“.
The German Newspaper Augsburger Allgemeine states that she is “amusician par excellence, capable of moving you deeply“.
Susanne is a graduate of the Leopold Mozart Conservatory, and The University of Augsburg.
She previously taught German literature, language and music.
Following aninvitation by the University of Pittsburgh in 2006, she has been accompanying Pittsburgh area Holocaust Survivors at schools and Universities creating the musical framework for their stories.
Susanne is a serious researcher of Eastern European music, and offers Klezmer Workshops. Besides master classes and lectures at the University of Pittsburgh, and Duquesne University, she instructed the klezmer band at the Agency for Jewish Learning, and is the interim director of the Carpathian Ensemble at The University of Pittsburgh.
Susanne has arranged and composed music for many theatrical productions including “Mazel” by Amy Hartman, as well as several book and film projects.
She is the subject of the recent book “Living the Dream” – Für die Musik nach Amerika” written by German Television journalist Helge Fuhst.