A tribute to Barbara Kupferberg

Volume 122, No. 6June, 2022

Barbara Kupferberg, 90, a pianist, harpsichordist, lyricist and poet, who first joined Local 802 in 1951, died on April 12, 2022. After attending Juilliard, she taught in the prep department at Peabody Conservatory in Maryland, and then returned to New York to play with the Huntington Symphony and Long Island Symphony. She also performed in chamber groups and taught piano privately and at Nassau Community College and BOCES on Long Island. Ms. Kupferberg was a gifted accompanist who was adept at sight-reading figured bass and was very involved in the field of early music. She premiered several works by composer Marga Richter, including “A Short Prelude in Baroque Style,” which was also dedicated to Ms. Kupferberg. In addition, she performed frequently with the Bayview Consort and the DaVinci Players, including Herbert Feldman, Paul Gurevitch, and Robert von Gutfeld among others. For many years, she served as the staff harpsichordist for the Long Island Recorder Festival and worked with the Boston Early Music Festival. Ms. Kupferberg was also the harpsichordist with the American Recorder Workshop, which was based at Amherst College. There, she met Ken Andresen, another Long Island musician, and the two formed a group called Polyphony. They performed on Long Island together for many years; in 1988, they were interviewed by the New York Times. Ms. Kupferberg wrote the lyrics to the light opera “Two Counts at Stake,” with music by Nikita Wells. She also contributed lyrics to “Three Leaves on the Wind,” a song series composed by David Rubinstein, with whom Ms. Kupferberg also worked on a separate piece, “The Song I Never Wrote.” Ms. Kupferberg’s poetry was published in the journal Early Music America as well as in a self-published chapbook called “Pieces de Coeur.” She is survived by her partner Charles Everett; daughter Julie (and husband George Zorko); daughter Alice (and husband Rick Harman); son Eric; and grandchildren Jennifer Zorko and Emma Harman.