The Royal Conservatory The Glenn Gould School


Barry Shiffman

Associate Dean
Director of Chamber Music


Barry Shiffman

B.Mus (University of Toronto)

Barry Shiffman joined The Glenn Gould School as Associate Dean and Director of Chamber Music in September 2010. He came  to The Royal Conservatory from The Banff Centre, where he had served as Director of Music Programs and Executive Director of the Banff International String Quartet Competition from 2006-2010.

At The Banff Centre, Mr. Shiffman revitalized existing music programs and launched major new initiatives in chamber music, orchestral studies, popular music, and jazz. Some of his most dramatic achievements were in the field of new music; under his direction, the music program of The Banff Centre became one of western Canada's largest presenters of contemporary works. He increased the number of faculty residencies, attracting notable composers including John Adams, Osvaldo Golijov, Brett Dean, and Louis Andriessen. In the spring of 2009, he oversaw the coproduction of EVOLUTION, the CBC’s competition for young composers, held at The Banff Centre.

Through Mr. Shiffman’s leadership of the Banff International String Quartet Competition, it has grown to include career development, outreach, and commissioning programs, along with a program to nurture the talents of young artists. Its endowment has doubled, and Mr. Shiffman played an active and ongoing role in major gift fundraising and stewardship.

From 2010-2016, he was Artistic Director of Summer Classical Music Programs at the Banff Centre. He continues at Banff as Director of the Banff International String Quartet Competition, and associated Banff International String Quartet Festival.

He has served as Executive Artistic Director of Vancouver's Music in the Morning Concert Society, overseeing all programming for the celebrated concert presenter since 2009. This is his final season for Music in the Morning. He has recently accepted the position as Artistic Director Designate for Rockport Music, in Rockport Massachusetts. In Rockport he will oversee a five week summer chamber music festival and other classical programming.

A sought after juror, he has served on the juries of the Montreal and Tchaikovsky violin Competitions, as well as  the Lyon, Banff, and Wigmore String Quartet Competitions.

Beyond his achievements at The Banff Centre, Mr. Shiffman has had a rich and varied career as a performer and recording artist. Debuting with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra at the age of 15, he has appeared with orchestras and in recital throughout North America, Europe, and Japan. Recent appearances include his debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at Disney Hall and a Canadian tour as guest violist with the Gryphon Trio.

In 1989, Mr. Shiffman cofounded the St. Lawrence String Quartet through a joint program of The Royal Conservatory and the University of Toronto. During his 17 years with the Quartet he appeared in over 2,000 concerts in venues around the globe and recorded several critically acclaimed discs under an exclusive contract with EMI Classics. Passionately committed to contemporary composers, he has been involved in the premieres of hundreds of new works, both in the Quartet and beyond.

In addition to performing and recording, Mr. Shiffman is a sought-after violin and viola teacher and chamber music coach. He is the recipient of the Nadia Boulanger Prize for Excellence in the Art of Teaching awarded by the Longy School of Cambridge, Massachusetts. In 2009, he received an honorary doctorate from the University of Calgary. He served as artist-in-residence at Stanford University from 1998 to 2006 and as visiting artist at the University of Toronto from 1995 to 2006.

You can email Associate Dean Shiffman at