Traditional Irish fiddle player, violin-maker, composer and teacher Robert Zielinski has traversed the globe as a touring artist, having played in countless venues and festivals throughout the USA, Canada, Europe, New Zealand and Australia such as The Brooklyn Centre for Performing Arts (USA), Ruth Eckerd Hall (USA), Orebro Irish Festival (Sweden), Ceol Aneas (New Zealand), Melbourne Recital Centre, Fly by Night Club Fremantle, Albany Entertainment Centre, Fairbridge Festival and the Australian National Folk Festival. Robert’s playing features on six albums, two of which are his own releases (OUT WEST, 2012, and THE DAY DAWN, 2018). Robert was twice-featured as a guest soloist with the Perth Symphony Orchestra (2016/2017) and was a guest soloist with Gemma Turvey’s Palm Court Orchestra (Melbourne Recital Centre, 2019). Robert is a Michael Coleman Traditional Fiddle Player of the Year award recipient (2000) and a former teacher at the Galway School of Music. Throughout his long career, Robert has played opposite a myriad of renowned musicians such as Martin Hayes and his father PJ Hayes (THE SHORES OF LOUGH GRANEY), Seamus Tansey (EASTER SNOW) and Kate Burke (DECLARATION).
Robert grew up in Western Australia and began playing the fiddle by ear when he was eight years old. It was early mentor Sean Doherty (from County Mayo) who first introduced Robert to Perth’s Irish community, including Mick Doherty, of the legendary Donegal Doherty family (a family that includes well-known fiddle player Johnny Doherty). Robert and Mick immediately formed a great friendship that lasted over twenty-five years, and Mick remains an enormous source of inspiration to Robert.
At seventeen Robert visited Ireland where he subsequently spent the following fourteen years, immersing himself in the music of the older generation. During these years he met and played with legendary musicians such as Joe Bane, P.J and Martin Hayes, Paddy Canny, Martin Rochford, Francie Donnolly, Junior Creehan, Bobby Casey, Joe Ryan, and Andy Davey. Andy, master of the Sligo style, was Robert's mentor for ten years, and Robert still believes that Andy was the most musical man he's ever met.
Robert began learning violin-making at age 20 with prestigious makers such as Jeremie Le Grand, Hugo Vegtor, and Bertrand Galen. In 2011, Giulio Plotino, the Concertmaster of the West Australian Symphony Orchestra, played Mozart’s Violin Concerto in the Perth Concert Hall on the first violin Robert ever made.
These days, Robert is mainly working on his own compositions, with the aim to record them on the violin he made for himself from 80-year-old maple and at least 60-year-old spruce he selected in Italy. Currently, Robert’s major musical focus is his 60-minute original composition, THE TORBAY SUITE, a descriptive piece about the pristine Torbay Inlet and surrounds in Western Australia's remote South Coast.
Robert’s full discography can be found on the Recordings page, with some releases available for purchase.