The American pianist, Tzimon Barto (born: Johnny Barto Smith, Jr.), received his first piano lessons from his grandmother at the age of 5, and at 9 he wrote an opera, including the libretto. He studied music at Rollins College and the Brevard Music Center. From 1981-1885 he studied at Juilliard under the iconic piano pedagogue Adele Marcus, who suggested that her student change his name to Tzimon Barto. While at Juilliard he won the Juilliard concerto competition and twice the Gina Bachauer Competition (two consecutive years in a row). At the behest of composer Gian Carlo Menotti, Barto, having also studied conducting, was invited to appear at the 1985 Spoleto Festival as both conductor and pianist. The following year Barto led performances there of Menotti's opera, The Saint of Bleecker Street. Additionally, he was a conducting fellow and coach for the American Opera Center. At the Tanglewood Institute, he received the “Most Oustanding Student Award”, presented by Gunther Schukker for his achievements as a young conductor.
1989 was a pivotal year in Tzimon Barto's career: he debuted at the Vienna Musikverein in February with conductor Christoph Eschenbach, and his first recording - featuring the Prokofiev's Third Concerto, Ravel's G major Concerto, and Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue - was released on EMI. At the invitation of Herbert von Karajan, he appeared at the Salzburg Festival the following year. Barto became a familiar presence on the concert circuit thereafter, regularly appearing at major venues in the USA and abroad: New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Paris, Berlin, and St. Petersburg.
Recognized as one of the foremost American pianists of his generation, Tzimon Barto has been giving exciting and highly acclaimed performances on both sides of the Atlantic. He has since performed with nearly every major international orchestra, including the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Berliner Philharmoniker, Dresden Staatskapelle, NDR Sinfonieorchester Hamburg, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Wiener Symphoniker, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, ONE Madrid, and NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo. He is a frequent guest at major festivals such as the Ravinia Festival in the USA or the White Nights Festival in St. Petersburg, Russia. For twenty-five years, he has had a close musical collaboration and friendship with the conductor Christoph Eschenbach. Barto's piano repertory is broad, encompassing works by J.S. Bach, Rameau, Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev, Gershwin, de Falla, Joplin, and many others
Tzimon Barto has already recorded numerous albums, many of them for EMI, and recently on the Ondine label. On his more recent recordings, he presents keyboard pieces by Rameau and piano works by Ravel. Further releases features concertos by Ravel, Franz Liszt, as well as popular encores, with music ranging from J.S. Bach to Joplin. His collection on CD of keyboard works by Rameau, entitled "A Basket of Wild Strawberries", was released in spring, 2006 on the Ondine label. His latest releases for Ondine are dedicated to selected piano sonatas by Haydn as well as to Robert Schumann. The R. Schumann recording features Tzimon Barto as soloist of the Sinfonieorchester des NDR Hamburg and as duo partner of Christoph Eschenbach (piano). A recording with works by Schubert is to follow in autumn 2010.
Tzimon Barto has always been actively involved in contemporary music and created an international composition competition for piano solo in 2006 – the “Barto Prize”.
Tzimon Barto He is a scholar of literature, philosophy, natural science and the Bible. He speaks five languages fluently, reads ancient Greek, Latin, and Hebrew, and is studying Mandarin Chinese. In addition to his career as a pianist, he is also a writer. His first book A lady of Greek origin, a work of 28 poems, all of disparate style, was published in 2001, and recently re-published by Jan Oidium Press. A stage version of this book was performed in Frankfurt and Vienna in 2005, and has been issued as a DVD by Oidium. Oidium Press also published his novel Harold Flanders in 2011.