Thanks to his versatility as a collaborative pianist, with repertoire ranging from Bach to Ligeti, Robert Kulek regularly performs with some of the foremost instrumentalists of today, including, Nikolaj Znaider, Arabella Steinbacher, Kyung-Wha Chung, Daniel Mueller- Schott, Augustin Hadelich and Simone Lamsma. He has received high critical acclaim for his work in Europe, North America and the Far East. He has also worked with such distinguished musicians as Gil Shaham, Julia Fischer, Julian Rachlin, Viviane Hagner, Shmuel Ashkenazi and Alisa Weilerstein, as well as the Jerusalem, Vogler and Aviv Quartets.
Recognition for his recordings included the Edison nomination for a French sonata recorded with cellist Daniel Mueller-Schott, 5 stars reviews in BBC Music Magazine and Diapason for a recording of the 3 Brahms sonatas with violinist Arabella Steinbacher and a high critical acclaim for recital disc released in Asia in May 2013 Asia with violinist Ye-Eun Choi.
Robert Kulek has always had a great passion for teaching and since 2012 is a faculty member at the Hochschule fuer Musik und Tanz in Cologne, Germany where he teaches chamber music. He has also given Masterclasses in Europe and in Japan. Residing in the Netherlands, Robert Kulek is an American of Latvian origin. He began his musical education at Mannes College of Music in New York with Elena Leonova, continuing at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London with Joan Havill, and subsequently went on to Yale University in New Haven, studying with Boris Berman and Claude Frank, and earning a degree in Performance. He has also worked with Richard Goode and Maria Curcio.
Violinist Arabella Steinbacher and pianist Robert Kulek continue their great collaboration with a new PENTATONE release, the recording of César Franck’s Sonata for Piano and Violin in A, which joins Richard Strauss’ Sonata for Violin and Piano in E-flat, Op. 18. While Franck’s violin sonata is epic in character, Strauss’ work is full of jovial energy, hope and anticipation.This fusion of elements brilliantly demonstrates the synergy between Steinbacher and Kulek, something we have witnessed during their recital performances over the past few years.
Needless to say, both artists possess superb technique. Steinbacher demonstrates her delicate yet fiery touch, most notably in the robust Franck score, while Kulek plays with resolute intonation, steadfast tempo, and broad dynamics. Steinbacher maintains her performance as an equal partner without dominating her counterpart. As exquisite as the performance is, one surely cannot overlook the role of PENTATONE’s recording partner Polyhymnia, whose first-rate recording and engineering techniques have allowed this release to stay true to the rich and wide sound that are PENTATONE’s trademarks.