Rob Millett

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From Cimbalom + Percussion | Rob Millett – Musician | England:

Since training at the Royal College of Music in the 1980s, I have always reached beyond the traditional, embracing new instruments and genres whenever the opportunities present themselves.

I have worked with many of the country’s leading orchestras, early music groups and in London’s West End, spending several years playing timpani with English Touring Opera, drums and percussion with the New Shakespeare Company at Regent’s Park, tuned and electronic percussion with contemporary classical ensemble ICEBREAKER and for the last twenty-five years, just about anything you can hit with a stick for Rambert Dance Company, composing, arranging, playing piano, harmonium, musical saw, electronics and stepping in as Musical Director for them when required. I regularly work at Shakespeare’s Globe theatre, the National Theatre and as a deputy for west end shows like The Lion King.

Also active in the jazz world, I’ve toured and recorded with the Homemade Orchestra, the Avalon Trio, MooV and for many years with acclaimed saxophonist Tony Woods, engineering and co-producing the two most recent Tony Woods Project albums Wind Shadows and Hidden Fires at my studio in West London.

In 2014, I was approached to take over as Musical Director for the London run of the Royal Shakespeare Company productions Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies. This required me to learn enough cimbalom to play about fifty short cues and a couple of long ones. Although I had the use of the RSC cimbalom (an elderly Schunda), I decided to follow a long held dream and buy one of my own. Thanks to, I found one in Munich that a very good friend inspected, bought and shipped for me. Since then, I have become increasingly devoted to the instrument, and in 2018 I drove to the Bohak workshop in Slovakia to buy a new one. Largely self taught, I recently travelled to the Czech Republic to study with virtuoso Marcel Comendant and plan to see him more in the coming months. Since that first run with the RSC, I have recorded cimbalom parts at London’s Abbey RoadAir LyndhurstMaida Vale and also Vada Studio in Warwickshire, and I have contributed to the BBC radio productions War and Peace and The Master and Margarita, the Chichester Festival Theatre production of Fiddler on the Roof, the Shakespeare’s Globe collaboration with the British Film Institute Play On! Shakespeare in Silent Film, and four tracks for Paul McCartney’s Egypt Station. 2018 also saw my first Háry János – Kodaly’s orchestral suite with heavily featured cimbalom.

The cimbalom is a beast to move and takes an age to tune, but it’s always worth it when you hear the first few notes. A sound designer once told me ‘I thought I’d accidentally routed the mic through a really expensive reverb, then I realised it was just the sound of your instrument!’

In Rolling Stone, producer Greg Kurstin described the process of recording my cimbalom for Egypt Station at Abbey Road with Paul McCartney “Then we had a cimbalom musician come in to sweeten some of the songs, doubling some of the melodies. We doubled some of the piano. You can hear it on the intro to I Don’t Know. It was really, really cool.”

Last updated on March 28, 2021

Albums, EPs & singles which Rob Millett contributed to

Egypt Station (Limited Orange & Blue LP)

By Paul McCartney • Official album

Contribution: Cimbalom • 2 songs

Egypt Station

By Paul McCartney • Official album

Contribution: Cimbalom • 2 songs

Egypt Station (Deluxe edition)

By Paul McCartney • Official album

Contribution: Cimbalom • 3 songs

Egypt Station (Limited Green Spotify LP)

By Paul McCartney • Official album

Contribution: Cimbalom • 2 songs

Egypt Station (Limited Red LP)

By Paul McCartney • Official album

Contribution: Cimbalom • 2 songs

I Don't Know

By Paul McCartney • CD Single

Contribution: Cimbalom • 1 songs

I Don't Know / Come On To Me (RSD exclusive)

By Paul McCartney • 7" Single

Contribution: Cimbalom • 1 songs

I Don't Know / Come On To Me (Promo)

By Paul McCartney • 7" Single

Contribution: Cimbalom • 1 songs

Egypt Station (Orange cassette)

By Paul McCartney • Cassette

Contribution: Cimbalom • 2 songs


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Rob Millett 6 years ago

Wow - I wonder how that was discovered? I also played Cimbalom on 'I Don't Know' and 'Happy With You', though it's all beautifully blended in with other instruments so sometimes hard to recognise. I played on a track called 'Get Started' which doesn't seem to have made it onto the CD.

The PaulMcCartney Project 6 years ago

Thanks for your comment, Rob. Your name was mentioned in the song-by-song credits listed on , however only on Dominoes. I've added your contribution to 'I Don't Know', 'Happy With You' and 'Get Started' (Get Started was released on some extended versions of the album, as bonus track).

Could you tell me where and when you have recorded your parts ? I guess in Abbey Road ?

Thank you very much !

Rob Millett 5 years ago

Sorry to take so long to respond to this! Yes, we recorded the cimbalom, harp and string quartet in Abbey Road studio 3, one of the smaller rooms upstairs, and it was back in early November 2017. Sir Paul was everything you'd hope for and more - a positive force, a fabulous musician and a gentleman throughout. 'I don't know' was the last one we did, and everyone seemed excited about the colour the cimbalom added to the piano intro, particularly Paul. It was an effect you could probably get close to with processing or with samples, but clearly the ethos of the album, and perhaps Paul's personal ethos was to respect and treasure the sound of real instruments played by musicians. Definitely a career highlight for me!

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