Artistic Director
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Artistic Director

Image credit: by Tania Barricklo

Barbara Pickhardt has had a multifaceted career as a pianist, harpsichordist, teacher, conductor, composer/arranger, and creator of unique choral concerts blending myriad artistic expressions into a unified whole. She has been the artistic director and conductor of Ars Choralis since 1976, leading the chorus in traditional as well as one-of-a-kind concerts of historical and social significance.

Pianist Pickhardt was introduced to the harpsichord as a founding member of the Woodstock Chamber Players, a Hudson Valley ensemble of flute, oboe and piano/harpsichord specializing in Baroque music. She was affiliated with Woodstock Chamber Orchestra as harpsichordist and supporting choral conductor for over 20 years during which she appeared both as a harpsichord soloist and guest conductor. As a faculty member at SUNY Ulster, Pickhardt led the choral music department and taught applied and class piano. She was the pianist and assistant music director of Overlook Lyric Opera and pianist and stage director for Robert Starer’s late operas performed in the Hudson Valley and New York City. The recipient of a Woodstock Cycle Commission for a one-act sacred work, Pickhardt teamed with lyricist Johanna Hall to write “Mary in the Garden”, a collaboration which went on to produce the Holocaust inspired, “Hope”, for soprano and alto, and the opera, “Miracle in Bethlehem”. Pickhardt founded the Hudson Valley Youth Chorale, a vibrant musical organization for hundreds of young singers who performed throughout NY State and abroad. Continuing her love of working with youth, she wrote and directed a spate of musicals for children promoting respect for the environment and for all people.

Mother of cellist Erica Pickhardt and pianist Kristen Pickhardt Tuttman, Barbara Pickhardt maintains an active music studio in Woodstock, NY where she continues to teach piano, compose and create innovative choral programs.