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Barry Shiffman Inducted into CBC’s In Concert Hall of Fame

Barry Shiffman Inducted into CBC’s In Concert Hall of Fame

Published on December 1, 2022

The Glenn Gould School's Associate Dean celebrated for his outstanding contribution to Canadian classical music 

Barry Shiffman

Internationally acclaimed violinist and violist Barry Shiffman, Associate Dean & Director of Chamber Music, The Royal Conservatory’s Glenn Gould School, and Director of The Taylor Academy, has been honoured with an induction into CBC Music’s In Concert Hall of Fame. 

The CBC's Hall of Fame celebrates the greatest Canadian classical musicians of all time, past and present, including Glenn Gould, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Bernard Labadie, Angela Cheng, and Anton Kuerti. In Concert host Paolo Pietropaolo highlighted Mr. Shiffman’s outstanding contribution to classical music not only as a musician, teacher, mentor, and festival director, but also as an all-round connector, both on and off the stage. 

Mr. Shiffman started taking violin lessons at the age of six and at age 15, while studying at The Royal Conservatory's Scholarship Program (now The Taylor Academy), he made his debut as a soloist with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Shiffman says the Academy gave him a community of like-minded, musically gifted kids in which he could thrive. Since joining The Royal Conservatory in 2010, Mr. Shiffman has mentored many of Canada’s finest young artists as his way of giving back to the community that supported him so much during his youth.

Mr. Shiffman established himself as one of the leading musicians of his generation as a founding member of the internationally celebrated St. Lawrence String Quartet. During his 17 years with the ensemble, he appeared in over 2,000 concerts on the world’s great stages, including Carnegie Hall, Concertgebouw, and Wigmore Hall, recorded award-winning albums, and earned widespread acclaim.  

It was while he was in the quartet that Mr. Shiffman became curious about the viola and began lessons and spent all of his downtime while on tour practicing the instrument. These days he plays the viola just as much, if not more so than the violin. Says Paolo Pietropaolo, host of CBC Music's In Concert, “With all his activities, Barry Shiffman is the glue that holds Canadian classical music together. Like the viola, indispensable – even if often the work he is doing nowadays is more behind-the-scenes.”

Mr. Shiffman left the quartet to work at the Banff Centre, and since 2006 has been director of the Banff International String Quartet Competition. He also runs the Rockport Chamber Music Festival in Massachusetts, overseeing classical programming as Artistic Director. A sought-after juror, he has served on the violin jury of the Tchaikovsky and Montreal Violin Competitions, and the String Quartet Competitions of London Wigmore Hall, Lyon, and Geneva, as well as many national competitions in Canada. 

Stream the episode of CBC’s In Concert