Stephen is currently on the faculty of the Department of Music at Slippery Rock University, where he conducts the University Concert Choir and Women’s Choir, teaches music theory and conducting, and served for two-and-a-half years as the interim conductor of the Symphonic Wind Ensemble. Prior to this position, he served as an adjunct instructor at the University of South Florida and University of Tampa, and taught choral music for two years in the Florida public school system. He holds music degrees from Westminster College (BM), the University of South Florida (MM), and West Virginia University (DMA), where he was awarded a prestigious Swiger Doctoral Fellowship. He has studied conducting with Kathleen Shannon, Don Wilcox, and William Wiedrich, as well as eminent American choral conductors Robert Page and René Clausen.

Stephen’s experience ranges across a wide variety of ensembles, including large mixed choirs, chamber choirs, women’s choirs, orchestras and symphonic winds, music theater, and more. Recent performances of choral masterworks include Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, Requiems by Fauré and Mozart, and Orff’s Carmina Burana. Recent theatrical productions as musical director and conductor include Suor Angelica, My Fair Lady, and Guys and Dolls. He has served as guest conductor for district and regional choir and band festivals throughout Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio.

The choirs at SRU regularly collaborate with local and regional performing groups to present a diverse array of choral concerts and perform major works of the choral repertoire. Highlights of these collaborations include residencies and gala concerts of works of American composers Libby Larsen and David Maslanka; a performance of Maurice Duruflé’s Requiem with guest artist Richard Elliott, principal organist of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir; and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with maestro Matthew Kraemer and the Butler County Symphony Orchestra. The choirs have performed regularly with both Butler and the Erie Chamber Orchestra since 2010. This year the choir begins a new collaboration with the Erie Philharmonic Orchestra, performing Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem under the baton of Daniel Meyer.

The choirs have performed at regional conferences and national venues, such as the Pennsylvania Music Educator’s Association (PMEA) Annual Conference in Hershey, PA, and at Carnegie Hall in New York City to participate in the world premiere of composer James Eakin’s Flowers Over the Graves of War with conductor Tim Seelig. Stephen is also the director of the Shenango Valley Chorale, a 100-voice auditioned volunteer chorus that serves the western Pennsylvania region near Youngstown, OH; and the co-founder and music director of the Pierce Theatre Players, a chamber orchestra created to offer high caliber programs of symphonic masterworks to the communities of the Shenango Valley of western Pennsylvania.


November 2018.  Guest conductor, PMEA District 3 Junior High Choral Festival (Erie, PA).

May 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014. Festivals of Music—Kennywood (Pittsburgh, PA) and Cedar Point (Sandusky, OH) Adjudicator for numerous middle and high school choral groups over the course of the festival day.

May 2018, 2016. Adjudicator and Clinician, PMEA District 5 Adjudication—Westminster College, New Wilmington, PA. PMEA-sponsored adjudication and clinic event for local middle and high school choirs.

January 2018. PMEA District 5 Junior High District Choral Festival—Beaver Area High School, Beaver PA. Conductor for one-day festival of 80-voice 9th grade honors chorus.

March 2015. Columbiana County Honors Choir—Crestview High School, Crestview OH. Conductor for two-day festival of 75-voice high school honors choir.

March 2015. PMEA District 5 Junior High Band Festival—Butler Intermediate High School, Butler PA. Conductor for one-day festival of 75-member 9th grade honors band.

November 2014. Beaver County Honors Band—Hopewell High School, Aliquippa PA. Conductor for twoday festival of 80-piece high school honors band.

January 2014. Guest Conductor, PMEA District 6 Choral Festival—Central Cambria High School, Ebensburg, PA. Conductor for two-day festival of 215-voice auditioned high school choir.

November 2012. Guest Conductor, PMEA District 1 Honors Choral Festival—Seton Hill University, Greensburg, PA. Conductor for two-day festival of select high school singers.

March 2012. Guest Conductor, PMEA Region 5 Choral Festival—Waynesboro High School, Waynesboro, PA. Conductor for three-day festival of 200 region-qualifying HS singers from PA Districts 7 & 10.

February 2009. Adjudicator, Heinz Chapel Choir Chamber Choir Festival—University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA. University-sponsored adjudication for regional high school choirs.

January 2009. Guest Conductor, PMEA District 1 Choral Festival—South Fayette High School, Pittsburgh, PA. Conductor for two-day festival of 170-voice auditioned high school choir.

To engage Dr. Barr as a guest conductor or adjudicator, please fill out the form below.