George Barth - Pianist

Pianist George Barth has performed and taught throughout the United States and in Canada and Central Europe, including engagements by the Banff Centre, the Canadian Centre for Austrian and Central European Studies, Humanities West, the San Francisco Early Music Society, Composers, Inc., The Kitchen, the Juilliard School, Merkin Recital Hall, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Longy School in Cambridge, St. Paul’s Ordway Theater, and academies in Budapest, Leipzig and Berlin. He is a senior Professor at Stanford University, where he holds the Billie Bennett Achilles Directorship of Keyboard Programs, teaching graduate and undergraduate courses in performance, analysis, and music history, and offering private instruction in piano and chamber music. His special interests include the piano music of Beethoven, Chopin, Brahms, Ives and Bartók, as well as historic recordings, through which he encourages his students to emulate the great composer-pianists in the arts of improvisation, variation, transcription and arrangement. Barth entered the Roman Catholic Church as a convert in 1984.

Some of his projects have explored relationships between music and language, as for example his CD-ROM Understanding Beethoven: The Mind of the Master, and his book The Pianist as Orator, which was hailed as “a breakthrough in…a new breed of inquiry that combines historical sophistication, a broad intellectual perspective, and practical implications for performance.”  His recordings on period instruments include Schubert’s Winterreise with mezzo-soprano Miriam Abramowitsch (Music & Arts) and the Beethoven Cello Sonatas with cellist Stephen Harrison of the Ives Quartet (Alliance). His essays have been published in The Revised New Grove Dictionary, Early Music, Hungarian Quarterly, Music & Letters, Early Keyboard Studies Newsletter, Music Library Association Notes and Humanities. His most recent essay, on Carl Czerny as an interpreter of Beethoven (in Reassessing Carl Czerny, for the Eastman Studies in Music series), discusses why it is that people rather than musical scores have remained the “primary vessel” of the classic tradition.