Robert Barto taught himself the lute while studying at the University of California in San Diego. After continuing his studies with Michael Schaeffer in Cologne and Eugen Dombois in Basel, he was awarded first prize in the International Lute Competition in Toronto and received the top prize of all instrumental soloists in the Musica Antiqua Competition in Brugges, Belgium.
Barto’s recordings for Naxos of lute sonatas by the Baroque composer Silvius Weiss met with critical acclaim and have established him as one of today’s leading lutenists. His disc of the composer’s lute duets with the late Karl-Ernst Schroeder was hailed as the ‘lute CD of the decade’ by Early Music magazine. Barto has been invited to share concerts with such illustrious musicians as acoustic guitar legend Leo Kottke and classical guitar great John Williams.
He has also recorded the complete solo works of the last great lutenist Bernhard Joachim Hagen (1720-1789). These are available on the Naxos and Symphonia (now on Pan classics) labels.
He performs throughout Europe and America and is a regular guest of the American Lute Society summer seminars as a performer and teacher.