John Orth

John Orth, American pianist, organist, and composer, was born in Annweiler, Bavaria on December 2, 1850. When he was only a year old, his parents settled in Taunton, MA. Orth studied organ with his father and then went to Germany where he took courses with Kullak and Deppe (piano). For two summers, Orth had lessons with Franz Liszt. Orth studied composition with Faiszt, Weitzmann, Kiel and P. Scharwenka. In 1875 Orth settled in Boston as a pianist and teacher. Orth taught piano at New England Conservatory from 1883-1885. He was also a staunch advocate for Liszt's music in America, presenting lecture-recitals called "With Liszt in Weimar." Ortjh was a member of the Puddingstone Club. In 1883, he married his pupil Lizette E. Blood, known as L. E. Orth(d. Boston, September 14, 1913), who was herself a composer of songs and piano pieces. Orth published a number of teaching pieces for piano. Orth died on May 3, 1932 in Boston.

-Baker's Biograpical Dictionary of Musicians. Fifth edition. Completely revised by Nicolas Slonimsky.  New York: G. Schirmer, 1971.

Physical description

This collection consists of four file folders (and one folder of photocopies) containing only paper materials.


Access to the John Orth collection is granted by the NEC Archivist. Appointments must be scheduled in advance. There are not restrictions pertaining to this collection.


All copyrights to this collection belong to the New England Conservatory. Permission to publish materials from this collection is granted by the Director of Libraries. This collection should be cited as the John Orth Collection, New England Conservatory Archives, Boston, MA.

Scope & Content

The John Orth collection is organized into four series. Each series consists of one folder. The series are:

  1. Biographical Information
  2. Correspondence
  3. Newspaper articles
  4. Programs

The items in the Biographical file include: a pamphlet for a lectures series given by Orth about Liszt which includes biographical information about Orth as well as press comments about him; a flier advertising a concert; an article entitled "Who's Who in Brookline"(also included in the Newspaper series); and "An Appreciation" for John Orth written by William F. Macy. There is also a handwritten biographical information about Orth, at least a portion of which was copied from Baker's Dictionary of Musicians

The folder of correspondence contains five items of correspondence- two postcards and three letters written to John Orth during the years 1913-1931.

The small collection of Newspaper articles date from the 1920s and 1930s. They consist of articles about: John Orth; Franz Liszt; and the "Golden Age" of music in the town of Taunton, MA, as told in a lengthy article from the Taunton Daily Gazette.  Photocopies of the newspaper articles have been made for preservation purposes. A few contain photographs of Orth.

The folder of Programs spans the years 1885 to 1949.  This group of programs consists mainly of programs for lectures given by John Orth; piano performances given by John Orth's pupils; and piano performances of the pupils of John Orth's sisters: Sybilla Orth, Caroline Orth Young, and Louise Orth Bosworth. Also, there is one program for a lecture about Debussy given by Heinrich Gebhard and one booklet from the Chromatic Club (of which Caroline Orth Young and Louise Orth Bosworth) were members.