Barbara York

Barbara York: Concert Accompanist, Choral & Theatrical Music Director, Composer

Meeting Barbara York at last year’s International Tuba Euphonium Conference was such a joy. I’ve performed a number of her works, and it’s always a pleasure to put a face to the name after all those years of reading her music. She was so vibrant, bouncing around the building from rehearsal to rehearsal, full of life and laughter. I remember seeing her across the room, laughing with my teacher, John Manning. They’re lifelong friends; seeing them together put a smile on my face.

Those of us in the tuba-euphonium community *hail* Barbara. She is a champion of writing works for our instruments that are unique, charming, and altogether entertaining. We’ve performed a number of her pieces in the University of Iowa’s tuba-euphonium studio; my favorites being Pilgrimage and Reunion and Shades of Purple.

Although I’m biased in sharing her work for low brass instrumentalists, instrumentation for her works knows no bounds. She’s written pieces for musicians across the board; from SATB choirs to contrabassoon solos to flute and viola duets. Give a link to her works here.

Her profile is full of humor, music, and memories of her life. While scanning through, I found one comic that made me giggle at the screen:

Early this year, Barbara shared her diagnosis with the world on her Facebook profile. Pulmonary fibrosis. She says her disease is terminal, but “so is life.” Barbara York passed away Friday, November 6th, I encourage you to know her name and remember her fondly. Although our in-person interactions were brief, I am inspired to live life as freely as Barbara. Be joyful. I’m compelled to live without boundaries, make music without boundaries.

There will be a memorial concert in her honor when COVID allows. To learn more you can go to her Facebook page.

Explore her music, and let it inspire you as it has for me.

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