Diane Birr, Professor of piano, has been a faculty member at Ithaca College School of Music since 1993 where she teaches courses and lessons in collaborative piano, private piano and class piano, as well as coaches both vocal and instrumental chamber music. In Spring 2008, Diane was selected to serve as a Faculty in Residence at the Ithaca College London Center where she taught the course - "The Keyboard in London and its Role in Society". To read about the students' experiences in the course, go to: http://ickeyboards.blogspot.com/. Dr. Birr is frequently asked to serve as an adjudicator for various competitions and festivals in NY state, as well as invited to serve as master class clinician for solo piano and chamber music.
At Ithaca College, Dr. Birr also serves as Coordinator of the M.M. – Performance in Collaborative Piano degree, a focus to the graduate program instituted in Fall 2015. Through that program, graduate collaborative piano students have had the opportunity to interact with renowned collaborative pianist-pedagogues such as Jean Barr, Warren Jones, Kenneth Griffiths, Martin Katz, J.J. Penna, and Sheila Kibbe, as well as with composer Libby Larsen.
Dr. Birr has performed with numerous vocalists and instrumentalists in recitals and master classes throughout the United States, and in Australia, Canada, France, Scotland, Austria, and Norway. Artists with whom she has collaborated include flutist Doriot Anthony Dwyer (BSO), world-renowned bassist François Rabbath, violinist Eduard Melkus, Christian Lindberg (International trombone soloist), Meir Rimon (Israel Philharmonic), Joseph Alessi (NY Philharmonic), M. Dee Stewart, and flute duo ZAWA! Birr has been frequently featured as a collaborative pianist on the Cayuga Chamber Orchestra’s Chamber Music Series and in numerous concerts at Ithaca College, as well as throughout the country and internationally. She has also served as an official collaborative pianist for multiple conferences and competitions including the Music Teachers National Association’s (MTNA) national competitions, the International Double Reed Society Conference, the International Horn Society and the International Trombone Association’s conferences and the inaugural International Brass Conference held at Bloomington, Indiana.
For sixteen years, Birr served on the faculty of International Workshops, a two-week music and arts festival held in locations around the world, in which she performed with string faculty in the festival’s concerts, as well as coached chamber music. In past summers Dr. Birr has taught & performed at Rocky Ridge Music Center in Estes Park, CO.
For fifteen years, Dr. Birr was the pianist of the Troica trio (trumpet, saxophone, & piano), which released its first full CD recording ("TROICA") in 2010 and is also featured on "Sing to me of the night", a CD of saxophone music of composer Dana Wilson (2015). During its existence, Troicareceived invitations to perform at a variety of venues including Sydney, Australia and Strasbourg, France, as well as inspired several composers to write new works for this combination of instruments including Marc Satterwhite, Margaret Smith, Allen Cohen, Peter Lawrence and Dominick DiOrio.
Diane has been an active member of MTNA for many years, having served in a variety of roles including NYSMTA President, MTNA Eastern Division Director and as a member of the MTNA National Board of Directors. She is also a member of NATS.
Dr. Birr received collaborative piano training with Brooks Smith and Gwendolyn Koldofsky at the University of Southern California (USC), and completed her doctorate in Accompanying and Chamber Music at the Eastman School of Music under the tutelage of Jean Barr.