Eliza Garth

the enchanted piano

Widely regarded as an artist with a passionate voice and an adventurous spirit, pianist ELIZA GARTH has championed some of the most demanding works in the repertoire. Among these are the complete solo piano works of the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Donald Martino, which she has recorded on two nationally acclaimed CDs for the Centaur label.

A graduate of the Juilliard School, Ms. Garth is a founding member of the Chamber Players of the League of Composers/ISCM in New York City, and is in frequent demand as a guest artist. She is a member of the music faculty at St. Mary’s College of Maryland.

She has been recognized twice by the Maryland State Arts Council with the Individual Artist Award, most recently in 2010 for her performance of John Cage’s Sonatas and Interludes.

Performance Reviews

THE WASHINGTON POST: “[John Cage’s Sonatas and Interludes] is absorbingly lovely when played with the commitment and delicacy that pianist Eliza Garth devoted to her performance Thursday at the University of Maryland’s Clarice Smith Center.  “Prepared” according to Cage’s instructions with an assortment of nuts and bolts, pencil erasers and plastic tubing that are stuck in between 43 of its strings, the piano in this piece is a whole percussion band that produces the sounds of gongs, bells, muffled thuds and some things too weird to describe, alongside, of course, the regular piano sounds of its un-fussed-with notes. Most of the hovering takes place quietly on the upper half keyboard and Garth, with a touch that allowed for almost ethereal transparency, played the meditative mind game expertly. That there was nary a cough, a dropped program or even an audible rustle anywhere in the audience through the whole hour spoke to her and Cage’s success.”

To Ms. Garth, contemporary music is as lucid and communicative as any older music, and her fine pianistic skills and palpable engagement pull you in. This was a challenging yet exhilarating evening…
— The New York Times

FEAST OF MUSIC: “Garth produced a wide-ranging palette of sounds. And, through it all, her Zen-like approach to the performance was captivating—right down to her methodically slow page turns and deep, strategic breaths between movements [in John Cage’s Sonatas and Interludes]. Garth made the evening’s silences as poignant as the sounds; one can only imagine how Cage himself would have cherished that.”

THE NEW YORK TIMES:  “Their experience together [pianists Eliza Garth, Brian Ganz; percussionists Jonathan Haas, Sean Statser] showed in a lithe, muscular account of Bartok’s Sonata [for Two Pianos and Percussion] … The players seemed to merge into a single meta-instrumentalist during the brash, keenly coordinated opening movement and summoned a suitably mysterious air for the night music passages of the second… Turning from Bartok’s piece to Mr. Crumb’s [Music for a Summer Evening] … The players here offered a mesmerizing performance. At the end, a rapt silence lingered for a seemingly endless minute or more before giving way to thunderous applause.”

…a display of piano pyrotechnics which delighted the connoisseur but probably dismayed aspiring students of the piano…
— The Reading [England] Chronicle

THE NEW YORK TIMES: “Ms. Garth, like her composer, has an exquisite ear for piano sound.  One can think of no one better qualified to play this intricate, shining music [Fantasies and Impromptus by Donald Martino.]”

THE NEW YORK TIMES: “…Aaron Copland’s classic Piano Variations, first played at a League of Composers concert in 1931, [was] performed brilliantly here by Eliza Garth.”

THE INDEPENDENT WEEKLY (Durham, North Carolina): “This program was not for the musically faint-of-heart … featuring some of the most harmonically difficult music in the repertory.  All the more reason to award Garth the palm for one of the most exciting concerts in the Triangle this season … [Garth] thoroughly understands every nuance of the music and possesses the technical facility to convey its meanings … If you weren’t among [the listeners], you missed a great musical experience.”

Miss Garth’s [performance of Donald Martino’s Pianississimo] is a splendid achievement … notable for the command of form and progress, and loving in the lyrical episodes.
— The New Yorker

THE NEW YORK TIMES: “Ms. Garth has an ear for sonority and phrasing and an ability to make even the most abstruse music sound invitingly expressive … [she] played with stunning power and coloration.”

SUNDAY NEWS LEADER (Staunton, Virginia): “The [Beethoven Fourth Piano] Concerto was daringly unconventional, emphasizing the lyrical and introspective, and performed with sensitivity and panache by Eliza Garth…”

NEW YORK NEWSDAY: “Pianist Garth finished the evening with a wonderfully expressive, compact performance of the Copland Piano Variations.”

THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE: “Pianist Eliza Garth proves that even the most difficult music can be convincing and moving if the performer is persuasive enough… Her fine musical instincts were immediately apparent in the opening Meditation on Haydn’s Name by English composer George Benjamin.  Her extraordinary expressive ability lent the limpid, shimmering opening a transcendent quality…”

THE NEW YORKER: “Miss Garth shared a recital in Merkin Hall in February with three string players…[performing] a program of excellent, varied chamber music, played with ardor, intelligence, and fine technical accomplishment.”

THE BOSTON GLOBE: “…an impressively spruce and coherent account of the Chamber Concerto… [Violinist Cyrus Stevens and pianist Eliza Garth were] truly luminous inhabitants of Berg’s prismatic sound world.”