- This article refers to the composer; for the politician see John Garth.
On 23 June 1742 Garth became a freemason at the lodge meeting at the Bird and Bush in Saddler Street, Durham.
Little else is known of his early life, but in September 1745 and August 1746 he promoted concerts in Stockton. In the latter year he was living in Durham city, where he organised a concert series until 1772, selling tickets from his house, first in Sadler Street, thereafter in North Bailey, where he lived until after 1791. It appears that the Durham concerts were in alternate weeks to those organized by his friend Charles Avison in Newcastle, where Garth played the cello. Garth's fame spread and he taught music to leading families in the region, as well as giving organ recitals.
In Darlington, in 1794, he married Nancy (Nanny) Wrightson (1749/50–1829) and died at his home, Cockerton Hall on 29 March 1810. Garth was buried on 5 April 1810 in the north aisle of St Cuthbert's, Darlington.
Garth is chiefly remembered for his eight-volume edition with English text of The First Fifty Psalms Set to Music by Benedetto Marcello (1757–65). He also composed a set of cello concertos (op. 1, 1760) and five sets of harpsichord sonatas (opp. 2, 4–7, 1768–82), among other works.
- John Garth, Six Cello Concertos, The Avison Ensemble, 2 discs, Divine Art
- John Garth, Accompanied Keyboard Sonatas Op. 2 and 4, The Avison Ensemble, 2 discs, Divine Art
- See 'Harmony and brotherly love: musicians and Freemasonry in 18th-century Durham City' by Simon Fleming in The Musical Times, 2008 (Autumn), 69-80
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