Trustee of the Week – Peter Barkley

Every Wednesday, we feature one Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra member to answer some fun questions about themselves. Pro Arte is a tight knit group where the musicians, board of trustees and staff work together as a unit. Today, we will be featuring our “Trustee of the Week” instead of our usual “Musician of the Week.” Meet Peter Barkley.

How did you first get involved with Pro Arte?  How long have you been a trustee?

I had attended concerts over a couple of decades so I was always interested since the programs were varied with top-notch performances.  My first direct involvement was as a concert singer with Coro Allegro in 1997 where we were invited to sing Mozart’s Requiem led by (then) conductor Gisele Ben-Dor who returns, in fact, to lead this fall’s Pro-Arte concert.   We were then invited back to perform Faure’s Requiem with Isaiah Jackson in 2000. 

Several years later, I worked in the office with (then) executive director Kathy Kearns doing some grant writing and assisting with event preparation.  I was invited to be a trustee in 2006 after I was no longer at the office having taken a job at a college nearby in annual fund management.

What attracts you to Pro Arte?

It is what I mentioned before– in terms of the performances being top-caliber whether the music was baroque or the premiere of a commissioned work.  It should be noted that Pro Arte musicians also play with other groups bringing as much musicianship and dedication.  In fact they can be called to sub for a BSO player sometimes and join in seamlessly.  They are easily among the best pick-up players in New England in my opinion.

Which Pro Arte concert has been most memorable to you?

The most memorable one had to be a concert in which I was invited to give an introductory concert talk with some musical samples of Bernard Herrmann’s magnificent and rarely performed music to the film Fahrenheit 451 and relate it to the Truffaut film I happened to know well along with the score.  Then Pro Arte gave the suite a superb rendering a half hour later. This concert also included beautifully played and shaped music of Mozart, the Barber Adagio and then Corigliano’s Red Violin Suite reflecting the musical diversity that characterizes many Pro Arte programs.

What activities do you enjoy in your free time?

I particularly love walks hours before dawn that I have been doing every day for many years and is in a sense a time as well of reflection and questions that occasionally bring substantial insights and also taking photos to share with friends. 

I also treasure my concert life and time with the Harvard Choruses and others I occasionally join with for concerts here and there. 

Important also are trips back north to Canada and Vermont to the north cities, forests and lakes I love so much.   

As my background happens to be American history and policy I very much enjoy reading books on the subject that I then discuss with a friend in Hawaii once a week or to curl up with one at a coffee shop nearby or my porch in back. 

If nothing else, all of these things are neat ways to keep the aging neurons active.

Do you have questions for the Pro Arte members?  E-mail your questions to