Robert Barto is an American lutenist specializing in the Baroque period, specifically the oeuvres of Sylvius Leopold Weiss and Bernhard Joachim Hagen. He is a graduate of the University of California, San Diego, having majored in historical lute performance. The recipient of a Fullbright scholarship, he continued his studies in Cologne, Germany and Basel, Switzerland with Michael Schaeffer and Eugen Müller-Dombois, respectively.
Having made Germany his home for many years, he travels and performs through out the world. In 1984, Barto took top honors at the "International Lute Competition" in Toronto and the "Musica Antiqua Competition" in Bruges, Belgium. His performances of note have included solo recitals at the Festival of Flanders, London's Purcell Room, the Utrecht Festival, and in New York City's "Music Before 1800" event. In 2000, Barto performed a tribute to Sylvius Leopold Weiss in Dresden. He also gave solo recitals for Bavarian Radio's "Bach Night" in Munich as well as the "Lufthansa Baroque Festival" also held in London.
He is also greatly sought as a teacher, having given master classes in Spain, Sweden, Germany, Italy and Japan. He has also regularly been on the faculty of the Lute Society of America's Summer Seminar series.
Barto has recorded nine volumes of lute sonatas by baroque lute maestro Sylvius Leopold Weiss and two CDs of the solo works of Bernhard Joachim Hagen for the Naxos and Symphonia labels.