Beverly Babcock began her piano studies at age five with Bristow Hardin in Norfolk, Virginia. She received a master of music degree in piano performance from Peabody Conservatory, where she studied with Ellen Mack and Leon Fleisher. Her post-graduate studies were with John Owings, pianist-in-residence at Indiana University at South Bend.
Ms. Babcock has served on the piano faculties at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, and Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan. She has also taught piano privately for 25 years. In addition to her work as resident accompanist at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, she works with instrumentalists and singers in the Washington, D.C. area, helping them prepare for recitals, auditions, and competitions.
Through her recordings and her appearances in major cities in the U.S., Europe and Asia, pianist Eliza Garth is well known as an artist with an adventurous spirit, championing some of the most demanding works in the repertoire of our time. Writing for the New York Times, music critic Bernard Holland has stated, “Ms. Garth … has an exquisite ear for piano sound. One can think of no one better qualified to play this intricate, shining music.”
Her recordings of the complete solo piano works of Donald Martino were released on the Centaur label to national critical acclaim. The first of these, her debut solo CD, was the first-ever recording devoted entirely to Martino’s solo piano music, and was included in a New York Times survey of its own music critics’ favorite recordings of music written since 1945. Both recordings received support from the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust; the second also received funding from the Aaron Copland Fund.
Her latest solo recording, of works by American composers Sheree Clement and Perry Goldstein, was recently released on the Albany label.
After graduating from The Juilliard School, Ms. Garth made her New York recital debut with a program of solo and chamber works by Alban Berg that included the Chamber Concerto For Piano, Violin, and Thirteen Wind Instruments, conducted by Harvey Sollberger. Since then she has performed over 200 new works, many written for her. These include Perry Goldstein’s Of Points Fixed and Fluid, which received its world premiere by Ms. Garth in New York City; Nomi Epstein’s For Eliza, which received its world premiere by Ms. Garth in Chicago; and Gradualia, a piano concerto by the American composer Scott Wheeler. Ms. Garth and conductor Jeffrey Silberschlag performed the world premiere of Gradualia at the 2006 Alba (Italy) Music Festival, and the American premiere at the 2006 River Concert Series in Maryland. She also has performed notable premieres of works by Oliver Knussen, Judith Weir, and George Benjamin, among many others, and is the first pianist to perform the complete Preludes of Sheree Clement.
Ms. Garth is noted as a creative recitalist. In recent seasons she and choreographer James Martin partnered to develop The Enchanted Piano: Dances for Piano with Electronics, Piano Strings, and Amplified Piano for five dancers and live piano. Featuring music by American composers Mario Davidovsky, Henry Cowell, George Crumb, and Maurice Wright, The Enchanted Piano received its world premiere performances in October of 2011 at the Manhattan Movement and Arts Center.
The following season she celebrated the centennial of John Cage with numerous performances of his music, including his masterpiece for prepared piano, Sonatas and Interludes. She performed this landmark work in New York City under the auspices of the League of Composers/International Society for Contemporary Music; in Chicago as part of “a.pe.ri.od.ic presents A John Cage Festival” in collaboration with the Floating World Gallery, one of the world’s foremost dealers in Japanese art, alongside an exhibition of works by Japanese Buddhist artists Toko Shinoda and Yozo Hamaguchi; and in Washington, DC at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center. In the Washington Post, Joan Reinthaler wrote, “[Sonatas and Interludes] is absorbingly lovely when played with the commitment and delicacy that pianist Eliza Garth devoted to her performance… With a touch that allowed for almost ethereal transparency, [she] 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.”
Ms. Garth is a founding member of the Chamber Players of the League – I.S.C.M. in New York City, and served for many years on the board of directors of that organization. She has made guest appearances for the Chamber Music Society of Baltimore, Collage at Symphony Hall in Boston, the Twenty-first Century Consort at the Smithsonian Institution, Parnassus, the New York New Music Ensemble, the Washington Square Contemporary Music Society, the New Music Consort, the Fromm Foundation concert series (Boston), and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, among many others.
Her recording with violinist Rolf Schulte and cellist Eric Bartlett of The Open Secret, by Pulitzer Prize winner Paul Moravec, is available on the CRI label. Her recording of David Froom’s Piano Suite, written for her with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, is available on the Arabesque label. Her recordings for Opus One include the complete duo piano music of Frank Martin, with pianist Yolanda Liepa. Her broadcast performances have been heard on the BBC Radio 3, WQXR and WNYC in New York, WBUR and WHRV in Boston, Radio de la Suisse Romande in Geneva, and WGUC in Cincinnati.
Ms. Garth is a faculty member at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, where she runs a lively piano studio and directs The Piano Festival by the River, a yearly summer retreat for pianists that is now entering its second decade. She is in frequent demand for master classes and as an adjudicator. Inspired by her experiences as an accompanist for the Pro Musicis Foundation when she was first starting out professionally — which took her to venues as varied as Rikers Island Prison in New York City and the Opera Comique in Paris – she recently has developed “By Heart,” a partnership with St. George’s Episcopal Church in Valley Lee, Maryland, that seeks to bring professional-quality performances to underserved audiences.
Eliza Garth has been recognized by the Maryland State Arts Council with two Individual Artist Awards, most recently for her performance of John Cage’s Sonatas and Interludes.
Brian Ganz is widely regarded as one of the leading pianists of his generation. After a 1995 recital at the Kennedy Center, Washington Post critic Mark Carrington wrote: “There has never been any doubt that Brian Ganz is a good pianist, but last night’s recital at the Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theater offered strong evidence that he is a great one.”
Brian Ganz was winner of one of two First Grand Prizes awarded in the 1989 Marguerite Long Jacques Thibaud International Piano Competition in Paris, where he was also awarded special prizes for the best recital round of the competition and the best performance of the required work. That same year he won a Beethoven Fellowship awarded by the American Pianists Association, and in 1991 he was a silver medalist with third prize in the Queen Elisabeth of Belgium International Piano Competition. After his performance in the finals of the Brussels competition, the critic for La Libre Belgique wrote: “We don’t have the words to speak of this fabulous musician who lives music with a generous urgency and brings his public into a state of intense joy.”
Mr. Ganz has appeared as soloist with such orchestras as the St. Louis Symphony, the St. Petersburg Philharmonic (of Russia), the Baltimore Symphony, the National Symphony, the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Memphis Symphony, the City of London Sinfonia, L’Orchestre Lamoureux, and L’Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte Carlo. He has performed in such halls as the Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Salle Pleyel in Paris, Le Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, De Doelen in Rotterdam, Suntory Hall in Tokyo, L’Arena Theater in Verona, and the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki.
Mr. Ganz made his recording debut in 1992 for the Gailly label in Belgium, and his recordings of works of Chopin and Dutilleux have been released on the Accord label in Paris. In 2001 he began a project with Maestoso Records in which he will record the complete works of Frederic Chopin. The project is scheduled for completion in 2010, the 200th anniversary of the composer’s birth.
Mr. Ganz has performed concertos with Marin Alsop and the Colorado Symphony, the Daejeon [Korea] Philharmonic, the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, and with David Loebel and the Memphis Symphony. He has also performed under the baton of such conductors as Leonard Slatkin, Mstislav Rostropovich, Philippe Entremont, Pinchas Zukerman, Leon Fleisher, Jerzy Semkow, George Manahan, and Gustav Meier.
Mr. Ganz is a graduate of the Peabody Conservatory of Music, where he studied with Leon Fleisher. Earlier teachers include Ylda Novik and the late Claire Deene. An enthusiastic teacher, Mr. Ganz is artist-in-residence at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, where he has been a member of the piano faculty since 1986, and in 2000 he joined the piano faculty of the Peabody Conservatory. In December of 2001 he was honored to serve on the jury of the Long Thibaud competition in Paris.
Mr. Ganz has remarked, “I am an active explorer of the many ways in which the study and performance of great music can remind us of the Spirit which unites all living things.” He has donated numerous performances in benefit concerts and was a founding member of the Washington Chapter of Artists to End Hunger.