The future of music, made here.

John Orth

John Orth, an 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, Massachusetts. Orth studied organ with his father and then went to Germany where he took courses with Kullak and Deppe (piano). For two summers, Orth also had lessons with Franz Liszt, and he studied composition with Faiszt, Weitzmann, Kiel, and P. Scharwenka.

John Orth History

In 1875, Orth settled in Boston as a pianist and teacher and taught piano at New England Conservatory from 1883-85. He was a staunch advocate for Liszt’s music in America, presenting lecture recitals called “With Liszt in Weimar.” Orth was also 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 composed songs and piano pieces. Orth published several teaching pieces for piano.

John Orth died on May 3, 1932, in Boston.

Source: Baker’s Biographical Dictionary of Musicians. Fifth edition. Completely revised by Nicolas Slonimsky. New York: G. Schirmer, 1971.

Archival Collection

This John Orth Papers consist of four file folders and one folder of photocopies containing only paper materials.

Access to the John Orth Papers is granted by the NEC Archivist. Appointments must be scheduled in advance. There are no 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 Archivist. This collection should be cited as: NECA 19.20. John Orth Papers, New England Conservatory Archives, Boston, MA.

The John Orth Papers are organized into four categories, each consisting of one folder:

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

Biographical information

The items in the biographical file include:

  • A pamphlet for a lecture series given by Orth about Liszt, which includes biographical information about Orth and press comments about him
  • A flier advertising a concert
  • An article entitled “Who’s Who in Brookline” (also included in the Newspaper series)
  • “An Appreciation” for John Orth, written by William F. Macy 
  • There is also a piece of handwritten biographical information about Orth, at least a portion of which was copied from Baker’s Biographical Dictionary of Musicians


The correspondence folder contains five items of correspondence: two postcards and three letters written to John Orth during the years 1913-31.

Newspaper articles

The small collection of newspaper articles dates 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 1885-1949. It 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. There is also 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.