Robert Szymanek, PhD

Music Educator • Researcher • Multi-Instrumentalist • Composer

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I am a Music Educator and Reseacher based in London and The University of Manchester. I tutor in Piano, Composition and Gamelan, working one-to-one with beginners, intermediate/advanced players, and professional musicians. I am currently undertaking research exploring potential applications of contemporary psychology and psychotherapy to music education and practice.

I am Course Leader in Ensemble Performance in Gamelan at The University of Manchester, where I am also a member of the Intercultural Musicking Research Group.

I have performed as a pianist and gamelan player around the world, including at WOMAD Festival, Charlton Park, at UPI, Bandung, Indonesia, and at LSO St Luke's, London. As a composer, I have worked with BBC Singers, Kyai Fatahillah Gamelan Ensemble, Youth Orchestra of the Middle East, COMA London, Chroma Ensemble, amongst many others, and had my music performed internationally. I have won awards including the DBACE Award for Performance and Composition, the Charles Lucas Prize for Composition, and have been shortlisted for a British Composers Award.

I have recorded and produced two albums under the the moniker
Ok Bertie! My debut Music from a Crowded Planet was released in 2017, and came with an app for iPhone and iPad Crowded Planet, designed in collaboration with Matthew Hasler. This was followed by my second album We're Done For (And Other Responses) in 2020. For more information go to:

I have taught on the Professional Development programme at the Royal Academy of Music
, Composition Workshops with LSO Discovery, and Sundanese Gamelan at King's College, Wimbledon. I have also written about music, composition and technology for Sound & Music.
My training in music includes a Masters and PhD in Composition from the Royal Academy of Music in London, where I was also awarded the Manson Fellowship. I have trained in classical piano with Shelagh Sutherland and Cristine Mackie, and contemporary singing with Mary Hammond and Howard Milner. In addition, I have a Masters degree in Ethnomusicology from Royal Holloway, University of London, where I also studied Sundanese gamelan with
Simon Cook.

My continual professional development (CPD) includes safe-guarding certificates through the NSPCC, and a variety of mental health courses, including awareness in autism, ADHD, depression, anxiety and trauma.


Instrumental Compositions

Sundanese Gamelan

Ok Bertie!

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©2020 Robert Szymanek