Robert Bates is Professor of Music at the University of Houston's Moores School of Music. He spent the 2012-13 school year as a fellow at the Yale Institute of Sacred Music and Senior Research Scholar at Yale University where he worked on his book on French organs and organ registrations based on builders’ contracts from the sixteenth century, soon to be completed. He received a Ph.D. in musicology from Stanford University. A specialist in early organ music, his articles have appeared in the Organ Yearbook, Music and Letters, Performance Practice Review, Les Cahiers d'Artes, and The Journal of Early Keyboard Music. Dr. Bates has won prizes for organ performance in Fort Wayne (both first and second place), San Antonio, Detroit, and Bruges; and he was awarded two French conservatory prizes, the Prix d'excellence and the Prix de virtuosité, both from the class of Marie-Claire Alain. Teachers of performance and improvisation also include Robert Anderson, Ray Ferguson, and Daniel Roth. He is frequently invited to appear at national conventions and conferences sponsored by organizations such as the American Guild of Organists, the Organ Historical Society, the American Organ Academy, and the American Institute of Organ Builders. He has performed and lectured at many universities in the United States, including Harvard, Stanford, UC Berkeley, Duke, Notre Dame, Vassar, Northwestern, Arizona State University, the University of Arizona, the University of Michigan, the University of Kansas, Wayne State University, Westminster Choir College, the New England Conservatory of Music, the Eastman School of Music, and the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. He was the first American to perform in a five-year series of organ concerts at the Minato Mirai Concert Hall in Yokohama, Japan. He has twice presented papers at an international conference in Bordeaux, France. In 2013, the EROI conference of the Eastman School of Music invited him to perform the complete Clavierübung III.
Dr. Bates recently recorded the complete works of the early French composer, Jehan Titelouze, in Bolbec, France on an historic organ for which Titelouze was the consultant. (Loft Recordings). Other recordings include the complete organ works of Brahms (Pro Organo) and Daquin (Loft Recordings) and a live performance for the National Convention of the American Guild of Organists (“Robert Bates in recital at Lagerquist Hall,” ReZound Recordings). His three-CD set, “Viaticum” (Loft Recordings), contains eight of his own compositions. In reviews of "Viaticum" the Diapason referred to one work as “an Einsteinian wonder”; according to Fanfare Magazine, “the music by Bates often overshadows that by other illustrious composers”; and Magazine de l'orgue (Belgium) called his compositions “the best of what is being written for organ in recent years.” He is currently Chair of the Program Committee for the American Guild of Organists National Convention to be held in Houston in 2016. His music is published by Wayne Leupold Editions (ECS Publishing, Boston). He has worked as a consultant on major organ installations around the country. He is represented by Penny Lorenz Artist Management.
"Bates has a beautifully refined technique, a profound understanding of rhythm and its subtleties, and a thorough sense of style." -The American Organist.
"There were no dull moments Friday night. He played with an impressive command of the instrument, searching out marvelous registrations and keeping his intellect focused. He found freedom in unusual places and musical grandeur everywhere....[The smaller works] revealed the kind of colorist Bates is, just as larger works revealed Bates' ability to make great musical architecture."
- Seattle PI
"[Bates' composition] had the graphic richness of stained glass in its visual presentation. It was as exciting as any traditional organ piece, made even more tantalizing by short quotes from Bach's 'St. Anne' Fugue!"
- The Diapason
"Bates' [new composition] was impressive to both eye and ear....Among its attractions was the pleasure of 'tracking' Bates' performance as it unfolded via the elaborate graphic representations provided to the audience."
- Early Keyboard Studies Newsletter
"Bates has a beautifully refined technique, a profound understanding of rhythm and its subtleties, and a thorough sense of style."
- The American Organist
"[Robert Bates is] one of the United States' most prominent organists. Rarely can an American organist of such high caliber be heard in Poland."
- What, Where, When Warszawa
"I discovered the genius of an artist committed to beauty and yes, the "metaphysical" properties of this organ in our time... This was a not-to-be-forgotten experience!"
- Herbert Huestis in The Diapason (reflections on Robert Bates recital for the Westfield Seminar on the new dual-temperament organ by Martin Pasi in St Cecilia Cathedral, Omaha, Nebraska)
"...on ne pouvait souhaiter mieux. [...one could not wish for anything better.]"
- Review by Pierre Hardouin, Connoissance de l'Orgue, no. 26