Barbara McKenzie is a dynamic performer, internationally hailed for her “…sensitivity and intensity that one rarely finds, even from the most venerated artists” (Westfälische Rundschau-Münster), and gifted teacher, educated in the highest German and French musical traditions through the legacies of Artur Schnabel and Alfred Cortot. She delivers great depth of musical understanding with passion, joy, infinite color and refinement whether as solo recitalist, chamber musician or art song collaborator. “… incomparable differentiation of tone colors.” (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung) “….a discovery which has charmed us all.” (Le Matin). A passionate and dedicated musician, her background encompasses the entire career spectrum: teacher, performer, mentor, entrepreneurial arts leader and educator.
Born in the southeastern state of North Carolina, she studied at the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University, receiving her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees with renowned artists Leon Fleisher and Walter Hautzig. She continued her artist studies at the Hochschule für Musik in Detmold and Schubert Institute in Vienna with legendary artists of the 20th century including Günther Weissenborn, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Andre Navarra, Jörg Demus, Dalton Baldwin, Jost Michaels and Bruno Giuranna.
Ms. McKenzie’s performance career has taken her into the concert halls and music festivals of over 40 countries where she has been featured as solo recitalist, chamber music partner and collaborative pianist in such prestigious halls and international festivals as the Schubert Festival-Kassel, Avingnon’s Festival du Provence, Frankfurt’s Hindemith Salle & Alte Oper, Atlanta’s Spivey Hall, New York’s Kaufman Music Center & Merkin Recital Hall and Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, New York. She has been heard in live and recorded performance broadcasts throughout Europe and the US including WDR West German Radio Köln, Hessische Rundfunk Frankfurt, BBC London, Radio France-Paris, RTBF-Brussels, WGBH Boston and American Public Media’s Performance Today. She has won many international competitions and awards as soloist and chamber player, including First Prize, International Chamber Music Competition, Paris; Young Concert Artist Guild Competition, New York; Third Prize International Brahms Competition Hamburg; and the Peabody Conservatory Prize in Piano and Young Artist Auditions, Baltimore.
Selected by the National Endowment for the Arts, she served as a musical ambassador for the US State Department and has been presented in concerts and guest lectureships in the former Soviet Union, North Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe.
Ms McKenzie regularly performs with many of American’s leading chamber music ensembles and artists, including the New York Philharmonic Ensemble, the Alexander, Borromeo, Cavani, Miami, Cassatt, Ciompi, and Voxare Quartets; the Philidor Percussion Ensemble and Zéphyros Winds. Artistic collaborations have included composer George Crumb (Pulitzer Prize winner), Robert Langevin (NY Philharmonic, Juilliard), Nicolas Duchamp, Carol Wincenc (Juilliard), Radovan Vlatković (Berlin, Marlboro), Amit Peled (Peabody Conservatory), Maria Lambros, (Peabody Conservatory), Katie Lansdale (Hart School of Music), Kevin Lawrence (NC School of the Arts), Thomas Meglioranza (Naumberg Prize for Voice), Maria Jette, (Soprano), Allan Ware and Raman Ramakrishnan (Longy School, Bard).
Praised for her insightful teaching methods and approach to piano technique through relaxation, Ms. McKenzie has presented masterclasses at the Conservatory of Music in St. Petersburg, the Moscow Conservatory, the Franz Liszt Conservatory of Music in Weimar and a number American universities including the Mannes School of Music, SC Governor`s Schools of the Arts, East Carolina University, University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Emory University, University of South Carolina at Columbia, and Vanderbilt University. She has held visiting artist in residence and teaching positions at Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music, the University of North Carolina Wilmington, Western C!arolina University and the Hanover Hochschule Konservatorium – Osnabrück.
In addition to her performance and teaching schedule, Ms. McKenzie is an ardent mentor of young artists who are interested in career coaching and building. She created, Focus on the Future: Rising Stars, which features select young artists and ensembles at the beginning of their careers for performances in North Carolina. Past performers have been the Kontras Q!uartet, Daedalus Quartet, Ivan Moshchuk (Young Gilmore Artist), and the Attacca Quartet.
Beyond these associations, Ms McKenzie was selected as an Artist in Residence by the North Carolina Arts Council and performs regularly with artist faculty from the North Carolina School of the Arts, Duke University, and several University of North Carolina campuses where she is also a featured guest clinician. She is the co-founder of Chamber Music Wilmington, the American Music Festival and the French Music Institute-New York.
This website is supported by the North Carolina Arts Council, an agency of the Department of Cultural Resources.