Jean Barr was Professor of Piano Accompanying and Chamber Music at the Eastman School of Music. The first keyboard artist in the United States to be awarded a doctoral degree in accompanying, she studied at the University of Southern California with Gwendolyn Koldofsky and at Northwestern University with Gui Mombaerts. At the outset of her career, she was accompanist for the master classes of Jascha Heifetz, Gregor Piatigorsky, William Primrose, and Martial Singher.
As a collaborative pianist, Jean Barr has performed in the United States and abroad with such distinguished artists as Carmen Balthrop, James Dunham, Gerald Fischbach, Pierre Fournier, Thomas Hampson, Donald McInnes, Eduard Melkus, Igor Ozim, François Rabbath, Gabor Rejto, Mstislav Rostropovich, Eudice Shapiro, Ivan Straus, Andor Toth, Zvi Zeitlin, and others. She also is much in demand as a guest lecturer and master teacher, and she has given classes in Austria, Australia, Belgium, Bosnia, Canada, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, the People’s Republic of China, Poland, the Republic of China (Taiwan), Russia, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and throughout the United States.
Considered by many to be a pioneer in her field, Jean Barr has sought to engender a broad appreciation of the collaborative arts. In recent years she organized significant chamber music concerts for the National Conference on Piano Pedagogy and subsequently for national conventions of the Music Teachers National Association. She also was the first chair of MTNA’s Collaborative Performance Advisory Committee. Most recently, the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy created a Committee on Collaborative Performance, chaired by Dr. Barr.
Prior to joining the Eastman faculty in 1988 to establish graduate degrees in Piano Accompanying and Chamber Music, Jean Barr taught at the University of Southern California, the University of Texas at Austin, Arizona State University, and, in the summers, at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, California. She also was on the summer faculty of the International Workshops for many years.
In 1994 Jean Barr received the Eastman School of Music’s prestigious Eisenhart Award for Excellence in Teaching. She was the recipient of the University of Rochester’s Susan B. Anthony Lifetime Achievement Award in 2004. Her most recent honor is the Music Teachers National Association 2008 Achievement Award. Jean Barr retired from Eastman in 2019.