Robert Fleitz Awarded 2023 Baumanis Grant

Jul 23, 2023

The Association for the Advancement of Baltic Studies is pleased to announce that Robert Fleitz has been awarded the 2023-2024 Baumanis Grant for Creative Projects in Baltic Studies.

The Baumanis Grant is an award made to honor Velta Marija Baumanis of Mount Brydges, Ontario, who left a generous bequest to AABS at the end of her career as an architect. An award of up to $7,000 is available for any creative project (e.g., book, film, exhibit, etc.) that promotes Baltic studies. Preference is given to topics with a pan-Baltic or comparative aspect. Applicants must be members of the AABS at the time of application.

The 2023 applications were evaluated by the AABS 2022–2024 Grants Committee consisting of AABS VP for Professional Development Dr. Kaarel Piirimäe, AABS President Dr. Dovilė Budrytė, and AABS Director-at-Large Dr. Daunis Auers, and AABS Treasurer Uģis Sprūdžs, CFA.

Robert Feitz, a man with glasses and brown hair, sits in a concert hall

© Robert Fleitz

Through “mesmerizing” and “commanding” performances (The New York Times), pianist and composer Robert Fleitz curates artistic experiences that surprise as often as dazzle. Known as an “innovative musical thinker,” (New York Concert Review) recent honors include the First Prize in the 2022 John Cage Award in Halberstadt, Premio “Rosalía de Castro” in the 2022 International Piano Competition of Vigo, 2021 Pro Musicis International Award, 2023 Baumanis Grant from the American Association for Baltic Studies, the André Boucourechliev Prize in the 2020 International Piano Competition of Orléans, a 2021 Robert Turnbull Piano Foundation Musicians Grant, and winning the 2022 Festival Sansusī Musician Battle. First taught piano at age 4 by his father, Patrick Fleitz, Robert received degrees from The Juilliard School (B.M. & M.M.) as a piano student of Hung-Kuan Chen and Julian Martin; as well as the Latvian Academy of Music (M.M.) as a recipient of the Frank Huntington Beebe Grant, where he studied with Juris Žvikovs and was awarded the Young Musician of the Year Award. In September 2023, he will begin his Doctoral Degree at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki.

Project Abstract

“The Silent Voice” is the first recorded collection of newly commissioned solo piano works from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. This project seeks to complicate prevailing narratives regarding contemporary music in the Baltics by highlighting composers whose compositional language reflects an international sphere of influence while maintaining a perspective unique to their position in their home country. In curating and researching these composers specifically, I enrich the musical and historical dialogue between these works within the context of the Baltics as well as in broader international musicology. 

The project has three goals: 

1) to commission new works of solo piano repertoire highlighting an intergenerational, aesthetically diverse cohort of seven composers from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania who work in the broad spectrum and lineage of European and American (post)modernism;

  • Krists Auznieks (LV)
  • Linda Leimane (LV)
  • Marianna Liik (ET)
  • Rytis Mažulis (LT)
  • Jānis Petraškevičs (LV)
  • Helena Tulve (ET)
  • Raimonda Žiūkaitė (LT)

2) to disseminate these works through a high-quality recording distributed by the Latvian record label SKANI;

3) to contextualize these works in a written text drawing upon historical, musicological and phenomenological research.

This project is deeply personal to me, as I have long admired these composers and their works. It is a great honor to be entrusted by them to bring the works to life, and I wish to do so in the deepest and most professionally outstanding way that I possibly can. My overarching goal is to expose these works and their authors’ to a wider audience around the world, and I am grateful for the opportunity to do so with the support of the AABS and the Baumanis Grant. 

-Robert Fleitz

Robert Fleitz