Stephen Barr is a product of the Shenango Valley, having graduated from Hickory High School and completing his undergraduate degree in music at Westminster College, and counting his predecessor, Ed Groves, as an important mentor. He brings a wide variety of conducting experience with both choral and instrumental ensembles, including large mixed choirs, chamber choirs, and women’s choirs, as well as symphonic winds and orchestras. Recent performances of choral masterworks under his baton include Duruflé’s Requiem, Mozart’s Requiem, and Orff’s Carmina Burana. He serves as an adjudicator, clinician, and guest conductor for high school assessments and district and regional choir festivals throughout Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio. Recently he was selected as a Mentoring Conductor for the “Complete Conductor Orchestral Conducting” workshop with René Clausen, hosted by Distinguished Concerts International New York.
He is on the faculty of the Department of Music at Slippery Rock University, where he directs a dynamic choral program comprised of three ensembles—the University Concert Choir, Women’s Choir, and Chamber Singers—and also conducts the Symphonic Wind Ensemble. He has served as an adjunct instructor at the University of South Florida and University of Tampa, and taught choral music for two years in the Florida public school system. In addition to Westminster College, he holds advanced degrees from the University of South Florida (MM), and West Virginia University (DMA), where he was awarded a prestigious Swiger Doctoral Fellowship. His primary conducting teachers at WVU were Kathleen Shannon and Don Wilcox; in addition he has studied with William Wiedrich, René Clausen, and Robert Page.
In addition to his conducting and teaching duties, Stephen is an award-winning composer and arranger working in a variety of mediums, from concert music for choirs, wind bands, orchestras, and chamber groups, to contemporary film score and music for media in orchestral and electronic styles. He has been a resident at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in New Smyrna Beach, FL, and the Aspen Music School and Festival in Aspen, CO. His music has been performed by ensembles such as the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Florida Orchestra (Tampa, FL), American Academy of Conducting Orchestra and Aspen Contemporary Ensemble (Aspen Music Festival, CO), and the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay, as well as college and university instrumental and vocal ensembles, and appeared on the programs of regional, national, and international music conferences.