As an arranger, Tom has arranged and performed the 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. A number of his arrangements were also featured at the prestigious Jazz in July with Dick Hyman at Manhattan’s 92nd St Y for the centennial commemorations of Bix Beiderbecke, Joe Venuti and Benny Goodman.
In 2008 for the 250th anniversary of the founding of Pittsburgh, he arranged Oscar Levant’s Blame It On My Youth and a medley of Earl Hines compostions for The Pittsburgh Concert Chorale. In 2012 he arranged music for the Pittsburgh Jewish Music Festival including settings of Scott Joplin and Louis Armstrong re-imagined from a Jewish perspective.
Originally from Pittsburgh, Tom has lived and performed in New Orleans and in NewYork in Harlem.
Tom has recorded over 40 compact discs . He has recorded with Leon Redbone, The Paragon Ragtime Orchestra, Rufus Wainwright, Martha Wainright, Loudon Wainright III and Cole Porter. No kidding! In 2004, Tom, along with Vince Giordano’s Nighthawks, recorded new orchestral backgrounds accompanying vocals recorded by Cole Porter in 1934 for the film DeLovely.
Besides his pianistic artistry Tom 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. Recently he has researched the early years of jazz in Pittsburgh and presents a lecture entitled The Forgotten History of Pittsburgh Jazz: Pittsburgh in the Roaring Twenties.
Tom is the founder and conducter of the newly created Allegheny City Ragtime Orchestra“ an 11 piece ensemble comprising members of the Pittsburgh Symphony and opera and ballet orchestras. The ensemble performs authentic orchestrations from the ragtime era with a special focus on rediscovering and presenting the lost work of Pittsburgh ragtime composers.
In April 2015 Tom brought the critically acclaimed documentary "Bayou Maharajah, The Tragic Genius of James Booker“ to The Hollywood Theater. Lily Kleber’s film has been screened at prestigious film festivals throughout the world including the Film Society at Lincoln Center. Tom performed music by James Booker and his disciple Dr. John and acclaimed poet Terrance Hayes read before the screening.
Tom co curates the series "Silents, Please“ at The Hollywood Theater in Dormont. This monthly film series presents classic silent film with live accompaniment from a varitey of performers and ensembles ranging from the traditional to avant garde.
He frequently appears as a guest host on Ryhthm Sweet and Hot on 90.5 WESA
"Tom Roberts (piano) - a real wizard“
-New Orleans Music Magazine
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