Raised in Independence, Iowa, Robert Espe began his musical career at the age of three, when his parents enrolled him in Suzuki violin training. Eventually, he would go on to learn piano, saxophone, flute and clarinet before graduating high school. In college, he played lead alto and lead tenor in the University of Northern Iowa’s legendary Jazz Band One, and was briefly the concertmaster of the UNI Symphony Orchestra. He eventually graduated from UNI in 2011 with a B.S. in Bioinformatics, and a minor in Music.
During his tenure at UNI and since, Robert has performed professionally in venues from NYC to Portland. His extensive pedigree includes collaborating with many Iowa-bred acts such as Lick It Ticket, Euforquestra, The Uniphonics, Bob Dorr and the Blue Band, Dustin Smith and the Sunday Silos, Canby, Big Funk Guarantee, and Checker and the Bluetones, and ensembles such as the Des Moines Symphony and the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony, the Des Moines Big Band, Orchestra Iowa, Wartburg Symphony, Jim McDonough’s Holiday Grande, and Theatre Cedar Rapids. As an educator, he directed the Independence Jazz Band from Independence High School during the ’09-’10 jazz season, and has been a counselor for jazz camps at IHS, UNI, and Simpson College He also works with local schools and students as an instructor and advisor.