Pianist Barbara McKenzie is an artist who displays “a sensitivity and intensity that one rarely finds, even from the most venerated performers” (Westfälische Rundschau). She studied at the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University, receiving Bachelor and Master of Music degrees. At Peabody, her teachers were renowned artists Leon Fleisher and Walter Hautzig, both pupils of the incomparable Artur Schnabel.

A native of North Carolina, Ms McKenzie resided and performed in Europe for a decade. Her career has taken her into the concert halls and music festivals of Great Britain, Western and Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, the Middle East, and Africa, in part as musical ambassador for the US State Department.

“Total musical understanding was manifest throughout the entire evening.”
(Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung)

Ms McKenzie has received many international awards and prizes as soloist and chamber player, among them

  • Conservatory prize winner, Peabody Conservatory (Baltimore)
  • First prize, International Chamber Music Competition (Paris)
  • Finalist, Young Concert Artists Guild Competition (New York)
  • Third prize, International Brahms Competition (Hamburg)

Her radio broadcasts and recordings include:

  • WBR, West German Radio (Cologne)
  • HR, Hessian Broadcasting Company (Frankfurt)
  • French-Belgian Radio-Television (Brussels)
  • Radio France (Paris)
  • BBC, British Broadcasting Corporation (London)
  • WGBH (Boston), Performance Today (American Public Media)
  • WHQR (Wilmington)

Ms McKenzie’s career-long devotion to chamber music performance has led to frequent concerts with leading soloists and chamber ensembles, including:

  • Voxare String Quartet
  • Alexander String Quartet
  • Audubon Quartet
  • Borromeo String Quartet
  • Cassatt String Quartet
  • Ciompi Quartet
  • Daedalus Quartet
  • Miami String Quartet
  • Philador Percussion Ensemble

In addition to these associations, she performs regularly with artist faculty from the North Carolina School of the Arts, Duke University, and several University of North Carolina campuses. She is a founding member of the Carolina Piano Trio, Ensemble in Residence for Chamber Music Wilmington and the American Music Festival.

Ms McKenzie was selected as Artist in Residence by the North Carolina Arts Council. In that capacity, she founded the American Music Festival in 1990. She founded Chamber Music Wilmington in 1995, and serves both organizations as Artistic Director and Artist in Residence.

As Artist in Residence and Music Educator Ms. McKenzie has created highly valued, award winning outreach programs and brought them into classrooms and performance venues for the public school students in NC. Ms McKenzie has worked with classroom teachers and professors at UNCW’s Watson School Of Education and has consistently produced original outreach activities, teaching materials, and study guides.

She effectively integrates musical masterpieces to highlight the focus of core curriculums and integrate music into academic programs, bringing enrichment and depth to the standard course of study. These include:

  • WWII Study on the Holocaust and Racial Hatred with Olivier Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of
    (8th grade)
  • Environmental Studies on the Humpback Whale with George Crumb’s The Voice of the Whale (5th grade)
  • Papa Haydn: The Boy Who Sang for His Supper (3rd grade)
  • NC History and Appalachian Folk music with Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring (5th and
    6th grade)

Barbara McKenzie has been named a North Carolina Woman of Achievement for her outstanding contributions to the state’s artistic life. She is married to publisher Jay Tervo, and together with their two daughters they make their home in Wilmington NC.

This website is supported by the North Carolina Arts Council, an agency of the Department of Cultural Resources with additional funding from local arts councils in Cumberland, Moore, New Hanover, Richmond and Robeson Counties.