Robert Cürlis was born in Berlin. There was a piano at his parents' house, so when he was seven he had lessons on it. At ten, he had his first timpani and percussion lessons from his older brother Stephan (now solo timpanist of the NDR Hamburg Elbphilharmonie), helping him to eke out his pocket money a little.
Four years later, Robert Cürlis passed the exam to become a junior student at the Julius Stern Institute in Berlin, followed in 1990 by higher studies at the city’s University of the Arts under Prof. Oswald Vogler (Berliner Philharmoniker) and Prof. Thomas Lutz (Berlin Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester).
In 1994, Robert Cürlis began his career as solo timpanist in the Bonn Beethoven Orchestra, moving to the Bamberg Symphony as solo timpanist in 1998. Since 1999 he has regularly spent his summers in the pit of Bayreuth’s Festspielhaus. While in the Rhineland, he developed an urge to communicate, which took him to teaching posts at the Music Universities in Trossingen (1999-2001) and Würzburg (2003 onward).