Robert Smith is an English baroque cellist and viola da gambist. In 2012 he won the Bach-Abel Viola da Gamba Competition in Köthen, taking the 1st Prize, Audience Prize and Special Prize. His performance of a heavy-metal transcription was especially noted. Robert’s ensemble, Fantasticus, has received wide critical acclaim for its recent recordings of stylus fantasticus and French baroque music. In 2013 his playing was described by The Strad as, “Intensely expresive, highly dramatic.” In 2014 Robert released his first solo recording of music for viola da gamba, ‘Tickle the Minikin’. The recording received many enthusiastic reviews and was BBC Music Magazine’s Instrumental Choice in August 2014. His new CD, The Excellency of Hand, is a discovery of English viola da gamba duos together with gamba-virtuoso Paolo Pandolfo. Later in 2017 Robert will release of one of the first ever recordings of Telemann’s newly discovered Fantasias for solo viola da gamba, on Resonus Classics.
Robert studied Viola de Gamba with Mieneke van der Velden (Amsterdam) and Paolo Pandolfo (Basel). He also studied baroque cello with Wouter Möller, Jaap ter Linden and Viola da Hoog. He was principal cellist for the European Union Baroque Orchestra in 2005/6. Robert now plays with the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra and the ensemble Fantasticus, amongst many others, from his base in Amsterdam.