Robert Harth, the executive and artistic director of Carnegie Hall, died of a heart attack Friday (Jan. 30) at his home, an apartment within the annex of the New York concert venue. He was 47.
Harth was named to his position in March 2001, and assumed responsibility for Carnegie Hall that September. Under his leadership, the venue was revitalized both in terms of its administration and its programming.
The son of violinist/conductor Sidney Harth and violinist Teresa Testa Harth, Robert Harth began his career in arts administration in 1975 at Chicago’s Ravinia Festival, where he was first production manager and later associate manager. From 1979-89, he served as VP/GM of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. His responsibilities in L.A. also included management of the Hollywood Bowl. In 1989, Harth was named president/CEO of the Aspen Music Festival and School, where he worked for 12 years before coming to Carnegie Hall.
Among Harth’s survivors are his parents and his son, Jeffrey Curtis.
In a statement, Sanford I. Weill, chairman of Carnegie Hall’s Board of Trustees, notes, “During the time that Robert was at Carnegie Hall, he quickly became a force that symbolized and embodied the spirit of this great institution. He was a sensitive leader, dearly beloved by the staff and the entire Carnegie Hall family. He constructed a compelling vision for Carnegie Hall’s future, and it is tragic that he will not be able to see his dreams carried forward.”