Barthel formally retired at the end of 2018, but he plans to continue working part-time.
A festive retirement concert took place in December 2018. The Groningen student symphony orchestra Mira, conducted by Pieter Bosma, played the Academic Fest Ouverture by Brahms, Tchaikovsky’s first piano concerto (with Martin Oei) and the 7th symphony by Dvorak (picture: Elmer Spaargaren).
Peter Barthel is collaborating with pianist Marco Rapetti, in a production of a filmed live performance of Scriabin’s Fourth piano sonata, opus 30, “illustrated” with astronomical images and video. The short film will be released in Spring 2021.
Together with his former colleague Mark Neeser, Peter Barthel produced several well-known astronomical photographs, using multi-band exposures with the FORS Camera of ESO’s Very Large Telescope. Three of these appeared together in ESO’s web release Three Dusty Beauties, whereas another one – the Sombrero Galaxy, Messier 104 – features in the top page of the website you are currently reading. The relevant web release is Fine Shades of a Sombrero. Several of these VLT images appeared as NASA’s APOD, Astronomy Picture of the day, such as Messier66.
Starting in 2008, Peter Barthel collaborates with the Grieg Pianoduo, Elles van der Heiden and Siebert Nix, in a project combining 4-hand piano music with astronomy video.
The collaboration featured a world premiere in september 2009, of a new work “The Sombrero Galaxy”, composed for the Grieg duo and Barthel, by Estonian composer Urmas Sisask, for which the composer used Barthel’s Sombrero poster as inspiration. More information can be found in the article on p.16/17 of the July 2011 issue of the Journal “Communicating Astronomy to the Public”.