Robert Szymanek, PhD
Musician, Teacher and Coach

Robert Szymanek Graeme Hill .JPG

I am a Musician, Composer, Teacher and Reseacher based in London.

My compositions and albums are thoughts and feelings on nature, ecology, people, places. I also do the artwork for my album covers.


I tutor in piano, gamelan and composition, working one-to-one and in groups with beginners, intermediate and advanced players.


I am Course Leader in Ensemble Performance in Sundanese Gamelan at The University of Manchester, where I am a member of the Intercultural Musicking Research Group. I have also taught on the Professional Development programme at the Royal Academy of Music, Composition Workshops with LSO Discovery, and Sundanese Gamelan at schools and Universities in London.

My  research  interests focus on the function of wellbeing in music pedagogy, practice and performance. In line with this, I am collaborating with consultant psychologists to develop Schema Coaching for musicians. I am also researching relationships between music and ecology

As a player, I have been very fortunate to perform with fantastic musicians and ensembles in the UK, Japan, the USA, UAE and Indonesia. I have received a 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! For more information go to:


My training in music includes classical piano with Shelagh Sutherland and Cristine Mackie, Sundanese gamelan with Simon Cook, and contemporary singing with Mary Hammond and Howard Milner. In addition, I have a Masters degree in Ethnomusicology from Royal Holloway, University of London, and a Masters and PhD in Composition from the Royal Academy of Music in London, where I was also appointed as Manson Fellow.


My continual professional development includes training in Child Protection in Education, SEND Awareness (Dyslexia, ADHD, Autism), and Building Resilience in Young People. I am a member of the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) and work in accordance with their Code of Conduct. I receive regular supervision and feedback on my teaching practice, consulting with educational, social welfare and psychological experts on a range of topics including safeguarding, self-care and pedagogical strategies.