Violinist Barbara Riccardi is a native of New York who was born into a musical family of Sicilian descent. Her formal training began at the age of three on the piano, following in the footsteps of her brother, Bay Area pianist and conductor Richard Riccardi. Soon after she added the violin and French horn. Barbara graduated magna cum laude from Vassar College, where her studies flourished with Russian violinist Boris Koutzen. At Vassar a love of chamber music was kindled by her work with Casals disciple Luis Garcia-Renart. This led to a mentorship with the Guarneri String Quartet, whose first violinist Arnold Steinhardt became her sole violin teacher for many years.
Ms. Riccardi joined the San Francisco Symphony under Seiji Ozawa and, subsequently, the San Francisco Opera Orchestra, where the opportunity to draw on the artistry of great vocal masters became another wellspring of inspiration. She ultimately left her symphony post behind in favor of a career custom designed to combine chamber music with this newfound passion. With 31 seasons at the Opera behind her, she continues to juggle a busy chamber music concert schedule with voice collaborations. She serves as concertmaster of Festival Opera of Walnut Creek and performs regularly with favorite groups like Donald Pippin’s Pocket Opera and the San Francisco Boys Chorus.
Barbara lives in San Francisco with her 5 children, all musicians/artists, and an ever-present array of beloved 4-legged family members.