Rob Burger

Robert Burger is a composer, arranger, multi-instrumentalist, and music director.[1]


Burger began playing piano at an early age, starting his formal training at age six with the pianist Jeffrey Marcus.[2] He played in local and school bands during his youth, and then went on to study classical performance at the University of Massachusetts with pianist Nigel Cox, as well as African American Studies and improvisation under the direction of Yusef Lateef. In 1994, he was recruited as accordionist, to the Bill Frisell Band,[3] featuring Joey Baron, Kermit Driscoll, and Don Byron. Burger moved to San Francisco in 1995 and formed the Tin Hat Trio.[4] With them, he co-wrote and co-produced four critically acclaimed recordings for various major labels. The group's recordings Helium and The Rodeo Eroded each feature guest vocal performances by Tom Waits and Willie Nelson.[5] In 2001, Burger moved back to New York where he worked closely with composer John Zorn, contributing as a featured soloist to many of his scores and recordings. He has released two full-length solo recordings on the Tzadik label, Lost Photograph (2002) and City of Strangers (2009)[6][7]. His third album entitled The Grid (2019) was released on Western Vinyl.

Composer and improvisorEdit

Burger has scored and contributed as a soloist to a number of feature and documentary films including Everything is Illuminated,[8] directed by Liev Schreiber; Diminished Capacity,[9] directed by Terry Kinney; 360,[10] directed by Fernando Meirelles; The Treatment,[11] directed by Oren Rudavsky; The Good Girl,[12] directed by Miguel Arteta; East Of Acadia; Bully,[13] directed by Lee Hirsch; The Disappearance of McKinley Nolan,[14][15] directed by Henry Corra; Chelsea on the Rocks,[16] directed by Abel Ferrara; and the Oscar nominated film Nebraska,[17][18] directed by Alexander Payne.

A versatile composer and player, Rob has also served as a "do-it-all, one-stop shop" for commercials seeking original music.[19] In 2013 and 2014, he worked with clients including Toyota, Safeway, Memorial Sloan Kettering, Scholastic, and Mercedes-Benz.

In 2017, Burger scored the film Trouble, directed by Theresa Rebeck, and starring Anjelica Huston, Bill Pullman, and David Morse.

Instrumentalist, arranger, and music directorEdit

Burger has teamed up with other musicians for much larger scale productions. Beginning in 2003, Burger became an active arranger and music director for various live performances produced by Hal Willner,[20] that celebrated the artistry of Leonard Cohen,[21] Bill Withers, Doc Pomus, among others.

In 2008, he performed the music of Bernard Herrmann as a featured soloist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.[22] He has shared the stage with, and has contributed to the recordings of many acclaimed artists including Elvis Costello, David Hidalgo, Marianne Faithfull, Sting, Rufus Wainwright, Nick Cave, Antony & the Johnsons, Lucinda Williams, Tracy Chapman, Iron & Wine, Beth Orton, and Laurie Anderson. He has collaborated in the studio with musicians Jim Keltner, Brian Blade, Marc Ribot, Greg Cohen, and Bill Laswell.

In 2011, after several years of working with Sam Beam of Iron & Wine, Burger was asked to produce the song “Flightless Bird, American Mouth” for the soundtrack of Twilight Breaking Dawn – Part 1.[23] He then went on to arrange and provide music direction for the band’s fifth release Ghost On Ghost,[24] and a world tour that followed.

In 2014, he was invited to perform in Hal Willner's project Sleeping in the Devil’s Bed: The Music of Daniel Lanois, as part of Toronto's Luminato Festival.[25] Daniel Lanois was present and featured, along with Emmylou Harris.

In 2017, Burger was reunited with Iron & Wine to record their sixth album, Beast Epic. The recordings took place in Chicago at the band Wilco's studio, The Loft. Burger worked with composer Daniel Pemberton on the score for the film "Ocean's 8" in 2018, as well as contributed to several albums by various artists, including Rosanne Cash's acclaimed release She Remembers Everything. In the summer of 2019, Burger released his first solo album in nearly a decade, entitled The Grid on Western Vinyl. The album features a vocal performance by Laurie Anderson.


As leaderEdit

As session musicianEdit


As composer of scoreEdit

As composer of featured worksEdit

As featured soloistEdit

(Discography and soundtrack credits collected from AllMusic)[26] and Rob Burger’s official website[27]


  1. ^ "Robert Burger".
  2. ^ Stone, Michael. "Rob Burger / An Interview". RootsWorld.
  3. ^ "Robert Burger | Biography". Hans Wendl Produktion. Archived from the original on 2014-12-18.
  4. ^ "About". Tin Hat Official Website.
  5. ^ "Recordings". Tin Hat Official Website.
  6. ^ "Rob Burger: Lost Photograph". Amazon.
  7. ^ Allen, Warren. "Rob Burger: City of Strangers". All About Jazz.
  8. ^ "Various – Everything Is Illuminated (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)". Discogs.
  9. ^ "Diminished Capacity (2008)". IMDb.
  10. ^ "360 (2011)". IMDb.
  11. ^ "John Zorn: Filmworks XVIII: The Treatment". Tzadik.
  12. ^ "The Good Girl". Mark Orton Official Website.
  13. ^ "Bully (2011)". IMDb.
  14. ^ "The Disappearance of McKinley Nolan (2010)". IMDb.
  15. ^ Collins, Ashley Wren. "The Disappearance of McKinley Nolan: Must-See Vietnam Feature Doc Asks All the Right Questions". The Huffington Post.
  16. ^ "Chelsea On The Rocks by Abel Ferrera". Stockholm Film Festival.
  17. ^ "Nebraska Soundtrack CD Album". CD Universe.
  18. ^ "How 'Nebraska's' Composer Wrote Americana Music Without 'Banjo Plucking'". The Hollywood Reporter.
  19. ^ "Film & TV". Rob Burger Official Website.
  20. ^ "Hal Willner Projects". The Office Performing Arts + Film. Archived from the original on 2013-02-13.
  21. ^ "Came So Far For Beauty". Leonard Cohen Files.
  22. ^ "Concerts". The Bernard Hermann Society.
  23. ^ "Various – The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1 (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)". Discogs.
  24. ^ "About Iron and Wine". Iron and Wine Official Website.
  25. ^ "Sleeping in the Devil's Bed: The Music of Daniel Lanois". Luminato Festival. Archived from the original on 2014-09-14.
  26. ^ "Rob Burger". AllMusic.
  27. ^ "Discography". Rob Burger Official Website.

External linksEdit