Artistic Director of Classical Music & Rockport Chamber Music Festival


Barry Shiffman, artistic director
Classical Music

As Rockport Music’s artistic director, Barry Shiffman oversees all Rockport Chamber Music Festival and classical programming.  

Violinist and violist Barry Shiffman has a rich and varied career as a performer, recording artist, teacher, and administrator. Shiffman made his debut with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra at the age of 15. In 1989, he co-founded the St. Lawrence String Quartet (SLSQ). During his 17 years with the quartet he appeared in over 2,000 concerts in venues around the globe (including Rockport Music), and recorded several critically acclaimed discs under an exclusive contract with EMI Classics.

In addition to performing and recording, Shiffman is a sought after violin and viola teacher and chamber music coach. As part of his role in the St. Lawrence, Shiffman served as artist in- residence at Stanford University from 1998 to 2006 and as visiting artist at the University of Toronto from 1995 to 2006.  Passionately committed to the composers of our time, he has been involved in the premieres of hundreds of new works, both in the St. Lawrence Quartet and beyond.

From 2006-2010, he served as Director of Music Programs at Banff Centre and from 2010-2016 was the Artistic Director of the Centre’s Summer Music Programs and Executive Director of the Banff International String Quartet Competition. During his tenure at The Banff Centre he introduced new programming in classical music performance, composition, popular music and Jazz and oversaw the dramatic growth of The Banff International String Quartet Competition (BISQC), which he continues to direct.

Since the fall of 2010, he has been at The Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, as both Associate Dean and Director of Chamber Music at the Glenn Gould School and Dean of the Phil and Eli Taylor Performance Academy for Young Artists. A sought after juror, he has served on the jury of the Tchaikovsky and Montreal Violin Competitions, as well as London’s Wigmore Hall, Geneva, Banff, and Lyon String Quartet Competitions.  In addition to his work at Banff Centre and The Royal Conservatory, Shiffman has served as Executive Artistic Director of Vancouver’s Music in the Morning Concerts since 2009.

He is the recipient of the Nadia Boulanger Prize for Excellence in the Art of Teaching awarded by the Longy School of Cambridge, Massachusetts, and received an honorary doctorate from the University of Calgary. His formal studies were at the Royal Conservatory in Toronto, University of Toronto, Utrecht Conservatory, Hartt School of Music, Juilliard School and Yale University.

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