Peter Orth

Klavierstücke, Op. 76 | Rhapsodies, Op. 79 | Piano Sonata No. 3, Op. 5

Price: € 19.95
Format: CD
Label: Challenge Classics
UPC: 0608917285024
Catnr: CC 72850
Release date: 29 May 2020
1 CD
✓ in stock
€ 19.95
Challenge Classics
Catalogue number
CC 72850
Release date
29 May 2020

"His playing is solid and mature, expressive without any exaggeration, warm in sound and technically accomplished."

American Record Guide, 01-1-2021

About the album

Peter Orth: While it may seem that everything has been recorded in the classical canon, I’ve found there still is room for new interpretations. Oddly, the piano music of Johannes Brahms has by no means been exhausted.

In my experience with American music teaching, the great masters were very much handled with a certain distant reverence - when in actuality they need to be approached naturally. Coming to live in Germany where the composers lived and worked removes these pedestals in favor of understanding their lives in the context of their surroundings.

Having been in the same room to hear the likes of Callas, Baker, Bernstein, Celibidache, Horowitz, Rubinstein, Serkin, to mention only a few, showed me viscerally what kind of fire is involved in making a musical statement. Perhaps having been witness to a time now gone, arguably the last of the great performing generation, has informed in my ethos a kind of measuring stick against which to measure myself and be responsible to. Whether I can live up to any of it is not for me to say.

Peter Orth: Wo es scheinen mag, als wäre im klassischen Kanon bereits alles aufgenommen worden, fand ich doch, dass es dennoch Raum für neue Interpretation gibt. Eigentümlicherweise wurde Johannes Brahms‘ Klaviermusik keinesfalls erschöpft.

Meiner Erfahrung im amerikanischen Musiklehren nach wurden die großen Meister mit einer gewissen Verehrung auf Distanz behandelt – wenn eigentlich natürlich an sie herangegangen werden muss. Mein Umzug nach Deutschland, wo diese Komponisten lebten und arbeiteten, hob sie von diesem Sockel und erlaubte es, ihr Leben im Kontext ihrer Umgebung zu verstehen.

Im gleichen Raum zu sein, um Callas, Baker, Bernstein, Celibidache, Horowitz, Rubinstein oder Serkin zu hören, um nur einige wenige zu nennen, zeigte mir bildlich, welches Feuer bei einer musikalischen Aussage im Spiel war. Vielleicht hat die Tatsache, dass ich Zeuge einer vergangenen Zeit geworden bin, vermutlich der letzten großen Interpretengeneration, mir eine Art Messlatte gegeben, an der ich mich messe und der gegenüber ich mich verantworte. Ob ich ihr gerecht werde, muss ein anderer beurteilen.


Peter Orth was born in Philadelphia, where he began his first piano lessons at the age of 6, and then in his early teen-age years moved to Reading, Pa. After High School he was admitted to The Juilliard School on full scholarship, where he was a pupil of the great Russian pedagogue Adele Marcus.

After his studies in New York, Rudolf Serkin invited the young Orth to the Marlboro Festival and subsequently to his newly formed Institute for Young Performing Musicians in Vermont.
In 1979 he won First Prize in the Naumburg International Piano Competition, given that year in memory of the great American pianist William Kapell.

The Naumburg Prize put Orth on the map and brought acclaimed New York debuts, alongside engagements with major orchestras, touring coast to coast in recital as well as Chamber Music with ‘Music from Marlboro’. He played with Zubin Mehta, Leonard Slatkin, Herbert Blomstedt, Karil Kondrashin, James Conlin with Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, and the New York Philharmonic. He made his Carnegie Hall Orchestra debut with Sergiu Commissiona and the American Symphony after which Peter G. Davis reported in New York Magazine that ‘Orth is a major talent.’ He also was given the Shura Cherkassky Prize by the ’92’nd Street Y’ in New York where he often played, along with concerts in Alice Tully Hall and Zankel Hall.

In the late 1980’s he met the French pianist Paul Doguereau in Boston who awarded Orth the Peabody Mason Prize. He also studied with Doguereau who knew Maurice Ravel, and had himself studied with the great pianist and Busoni pupil Egon Petri, as well as Emil von Sauer and Ignace Paderewski. Their lessons together revolutionised Orth’s work at the keyboard. In that same time Orth encountered the legendary Romanian conductor Sergiu Cellibidache who invited him to his master classes in Mainz, Germany. Here the Maestro turned Orth’s entire musical education completely on its head.

In 1991 Orth met the German Auryn String Quartet at the Kuhmo Festival in Finland which culminated in Orth’s moving to Germany and eventually recording most of the Piano Quintet literature with them. He shares a home with the British violist of the quartet.
Arriving to live in Germany in 1992 presented a unique situation for Orth, as he had no infrastructure or history there professionally. He has since played extensively in Europe with tours of Holland, Italy and Ireland, while maintaining a close artistic relationship with the Auryn Quartet.

Orth was Professor at the Detmold Hochschule for Musik in Detmold from 2010. For the first of his recordings for the Challenge Label his Diabelli Variations (CC 72634) received the Classic Central Golden Label Award.



His playing is solid and mature, expressive without any exaggeration, warm in sound and technically accomplished.
American Record Guide, 01-1-2021

**** (four stars - out of five) This selection of mature Brahms piano works is performed with great sensitivity and expression by Peter Orth, who injects every note with just the right amouont of colour and emotional power.  
BBC Music Magazine, 30-10-2020

It is both a lucid and intelligently constructed conception of a music which never ceases to show its prodigious richness., 01-9-2020

Orth plays firmly and mildly at the same time, he clearly states the outlines, but can also lose himself in atmospheric reverie.
Luister, 17-7-2020

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