b. Connecticut, USA. Playing piano from his early childhood, Barnhart became a professional musician at the age of 14, using his earnings to help pay for formal tuition. Although some of this work was as house pianist at a local restaurant, he also played in bands, including the Galvanized Jazz Band, and as his reputation spread, he worked with the Hot Cat Jazz Band, the Titan Hot Five, Hot Jam, the New Reformation Jazz Band and the Draga-Vax Connection. With some of these bands he played at festivals throughout North America. He has continued to mingle band work with solo performances. His bands include the UK-based Fryer-Barnhart International All Star Jazz Band, which he co-leads with brass player Jim Fryer, a long-time associate, and We Three, a trio with clarinettist Bob Draga and drummer Danny Coots. He and his wife, flautist Anne Barnhart, play in duo as Ivory And Gold (sometimes complemented by Coots) and have released several albums on Jazz Alive Records, their own label. The couple are members of a quartet, JAS’M, which is rounded out by Sherrie Colby and Matt Bottel. Barnhart has played in two-piano sessions with Neville Dickie, John Hallam, Brian Holland, Tom Hook, Louis Mazetier, John Sheridan and Ralph Sutton. He has also been a member of Tony Parenti’s ragtime band.
In some of Barnhart’s many live and recorded sessions he sings as well as playing piano. Overall, his repertoire ranges widely, incorporating ragtime, early jazz, stride and swing era styles. He and his wife also play classical music. In addition to performing, Barnhart conducts seminars and workshops.