Tom Roberts

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Tom Roberts

Portrait of Tom Roberts near a piano. Pianist, composer, and arranger Tom Roberts has performed on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, and A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Kiellor. He was the featured pianist at the International Stride Piano Summit in Zurich, Switzerland, 2001 and 2009. 

Roberts was pianist for Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks in New York City (recent Grammy winners for the soundtrack to Boardwalk Empire)  and pianist and musical director for Leon Redbone for six years. He has performed twice at New York’s Carnegie Hall in 2003, once with Skitch Henderson and the New York Pops.

Roberts also has performed multiple times at The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage festival, including a solo performance at The Professor Longhair Society’s Piano Night At Tipitina’s. He has performed throughout Europe as a member of multiple ensembles from New Orleans and as a member of The Ortner Roberts Duo

Roberts has composed new musical scores for the Charlie Chaplin films One A.M. and The Rink through a commission from The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. The scores were premiered at the Leopold Mozart Conservatory in Augsburg, Germany, and then performed in Pittsburgh at Heinz Hall in May 2012. He is currently working on a score for a newly restored version of The Pawnshop.

In addition to a new score for the Gloria Swanson film Stage Struck, performed at The Andy Warhol Museum, Roberts has composed music for two films by The Allegheny City Society and a large-scale choral work based on the poetry of Langston Hughes that was performed by the Bach Choir of Pittsburgh

As an arranger, Roberts has  arranged and performed music for the soundtrack of Martin Scorsese’s film The Aviator, starring Leonardo di Caprio; for the syndicated PRI show Riverwalk Jazz, Live from the Landing with the Jim Cullum Jazz Band; and a number of pieces for Wynton Marsalis and The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra for a concert of the music of Louis Armstrong.

Originally from Pittsburgh, Tom has lived and performed  in New Orleans and in New York City’s Harlem neighborhood.

He has recorded more than 40 CDs, working with performers such as Leon Redbone, Rufus Wainwright, Martha Wainright and  Loudon Wainright III. In 2004, he and Vince Giordano’s Nighthawks recorded new orchestral backgrounds accompanying vocals recorded by Cole Porter in 1934 for the film DeLovely

Besides his pianistic artistry, Roberts is a versatile music historian with special focus on the early Jazz Era . He has contributed articles for magazines such as Piano Today and is a frequent guest at National Public Radio. He frequently appears as a guest host on Rhythm Sweet and Hot on 90.5 WESA radio.

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Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra


Tom Roberts

Washington Jazz Society Big Band


Tickets will be available at Cal U on the day of the festival; no advance ticket sales are planned. Members of the campus community will be admitted free with a valid CalCard.

Parking is included in the ticket price, and food can be purchased on campus.

Less than an hour’s drive from Pittsburgh, California University is easy to reach via major highways and Toll Route 43. 

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