Recordings & Publications
With nine CDs to his credit, Barra has garnered two Grammy nominations and helped win a third for producer Michael Fine. The following CDs were recorded with Koch International Classics Recording Company.
Seven International discs with the San Diego Chamber Orchestra (Featured Below)
Two International discs with the Moscow Philharmonic
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San Diego Chamber Orchestra CD Recording 1 San Diego Chamber Orchestra CD Recording 3 San Diego Chamber Orchestra CD Recording 2
San Diego Chamber Orchestra CD Recording 4 San Diego Chamber Orchestra CD Recording 5 San Diego Chamber Orchestra CD Recording 6 San Diego Chamber Orchestra CD Recording 7

Three Grammy Nominations:

      1) “Best Classical Recording of the Year” (SDCO disc #7)

      2) “Best Classical Producer of the Year” (SDCO disc #3)

      3) “Best Chamber Orchestra Recording of the Year” (SDCO disc #3)

One Grammy Award:  “Michael Fine; Best Classical Producer of the Year”

Recording Reviews

“The virtuosity of the San Diego musicians provides a sterling performance that’s easily the finest disc available today…”     Heuwell Tircuit, In Tune Magazine

“In terms of performance and recording quality, the San Diego Chamber Orchestra has given the big boys an admirable standard to shoot for.”     Kenneth Herman, Los Angles Times

“Donald Barra and the San Diego Chamber Orchestra give the best performances available…Barra and his musicians really bring out the salient details in these pieces….This is one of those rare discs I will often return to…”     Elliott Hurwitz, Fanfare Magazine

This is the most enjoyable recording I have heard in some time…”     David Bond, American Record Guide

“Possibly the happiest discovery was the outstanding quality of the San Diego Chamber Orchestra and its stylish conductor, Donald Barra.”     Byron Belt, Nationally Syndicated Reviewer

“Easily the best chamber orchestra recording of 1993.”     Boston Globe

Publications: The Dynamic Performance
Dynamic Performance Excerpt      Dynamic Performance Excerpt      Dynamic Performance Excerpt
(Click to Enlarge)
Why are Donald Barra's performances so extraordinary? And why are they lauded by musical professionals and music lovers alike?

The reason is simple: Barra is an expert on the nature of musical communication. He understands that music is not simply a collection of notes, that performance is not merely a technical exercise. Rather, music is a living force. It is a dynamic event. It must grow, expand, climax, reverberate, fulfill… It must come alive in the heart and mind of the listener. In the words of psychologist Abraham Maslow, the musical experience must become a peak experience.

Because he understands the psychological basis of the listener's response, Barra is able to shape the dynamic structure of compositions to reinforce this experience. In fact he "wrote the book" on the subject!

Barra is author of a treatise on musical performance that has been studied by students and professionals throughout the United States and abroad. His text, entitled The Dynamic Performance; a Performer's Guide to Musical Expression and Interpretation (Prentice Hall, 1983) has become a standard in the field.

Barra's doctoral studies at Columbia University (and his dissertation, entitled Listening and the Aesthetic Experience) are the basis for his book, and for his extraordinary understanding of the nature of musical interpretation.

But don't take our word for it. Read what other extraordinary performers have had to say about his book:

"Thank goodness for people like Don Barra who, in moments of reflection, can see clearly to help us grasp and understand what these great musical creators brought forth in their greatest moments."     Loren Hollander, international piano soloist

"Bravo…I fear too few musicians today have learned what you so clearly and beautifully put forward here. I offer my sincere congratulations."     Misha Dichter, international piano soloist

"This excellent book has tremendous focus in articulating every detail of our elusive art. This work is an invaluable study for student and professional alike and will prove to be a lasting enrichment to the musical world."     Eugene Fodor, international violin soloist

Yehudi Menuhin was so impressed that he wrote this extraordinary introduction:

"I am delighted with The Dynamic Performance by Donald Barra. If it did not carry Donald Barra's signature, I would be tempted to call it my own, so closely do our thoughts coincide.

Donald Barra has restored music to the function of living language and saved it from the interrupted and meaningless staccato of the teletype.

He has done so on a sound basis - no pun intended - for his verbal arguments are irrefutable and, as all theories should be, not deforming of life but dissolving of the theory when applied into the very blood of life.

His is a bridge between intuition and reason and provides a fruitful feedback to intuition, strengthening it and keeping it within the bounds of good taste.

All my gratitude, all my congratulations, all my relief for having released me from the need of writing his book!"

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