Robert Rocco is a native of western Pennsylvania, where he began piano studies with his mother at age five. He holds degrees in music performance from Carnegie Mellon and Yale University and was cited for achievement in solfège and music theory. His teachers include Daniel Pollack, Claude Frank, Jeaneane Dowis, Jean-Pierre Marty, Paul Posnak, Joan Panetti, Donald Currier, and Eugene List. He has also played in master classes with Boris Berman, James Tocco, Margaret Singer, Martin Katz, Margo Garrett, Gaby Casadesus, and Noël Lee. Further studies have taken him to the American Conservatory at Fontainebleau as well as to the Mozarteum in Salzburg, where he earned a certificate in German Lieder accompanying. He taught courses in French and German diction and also served as a collaborative pianist and vocal coach at Carnegie Mellon and Chatham University before coming to the School of Music at University of North Carolina School of the Arts, where he performs with faculty and students and teaches courses in aural skills.
Mr. Rocco has been featured on WQED-FM radio broadcasts with the Pittsburgh-based ensemble Dear Friends and with the Bach Choir of Pittsburgh. As a choral accompanist he has toured Europe with the Robert Page Festival Singers in the Baltic States and throughout Germany, Switzerland, France, and Spain. During the fiftieth anniversary of D-Day in Normandy, France, he was invited to present a commemorative piano recital of French and American music at the Université de Caen in the presence of that city’s mayor. He holds an appointment as a collaborative artist at the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria, where his English edition of Diction with Conviction: Singing in German, by author Nina Radtke, has become the standard resource for students of singing.
With double bassist Lynn Peters he has recorded “The Music History Quartet” and the “Moby Dick” Sonata by the late UNCSA alumnus Maurice Patrick Byers on the CD 2003: A Bass Odyssey. Recent projects include an ongoing collaboration as harpsichordist with the New Baroque Chamber Players ensemble; competitive ballroom and showcase dance performances with Fred Astaire Dance Studios; studies in Dalcroze Eurythmics at the Institute for Jaques-Dalcroze Education; and training in the Alexander Technique. In addition, Mr. Rocco holds a permanent position as pianist and director of music at Beck’s Baptist Church in Winston-Salem.