SEATTLE, WA – Seattle Symphony Associate Principal Flute Jeffrey Barker was formally recognized on Monday, June 25 by the Metropolitan King County Council for his work in the community, particularly with those experiencing homelessness. Through his exemplary participation in the Seattle Symphony’s education and community programs, Barker has worked to highlight the challenges of homelessness and worked alongside those experiencing homelessness to unlock their creativity and find inspiration through music. 

“Jeffrey is an example of what it means to put your beliefs into action,” said Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles, the sponsor of the recognition. “His work to lift up people around him is an important reminder that we all have the ability to make our community a better place for all.”

Earlier this month, Barker was awarded the Ford Musician Award for Excellence in Community Service by the League of American Orchestras at the League’s 73rd National Conference in Chicago on June 13–15, 2018. Recognizing the transformative power of music, the awards honor those in the orchestra field who employ music for the benefit of the greater community.

Since joining the Seattle Symphony in 2015, Barker has immersed himself in the Seattle Symphony’s education and community engagement work. For his work with youth, he has collaborated on developing Sensory Friendly Concerts, which are concerts specifically designed for children on the autism spectrum or sensory sensitivities. A Seattle native, Barker also has coached sectionals for side-by-side performances with local high schools developing young, local talent.

In the community, Barker has actively supported the Seattle Symphony’s Lullaby Project which is part of the Simple Gifts initiative, an organization-wide commitment that empowers individuals experiencing homelessness to connect with their creativity through the power of music.  A partnership between the Seattle Symphony and Mary’s Place, the Seattle-based emergency family shelter, the Lullaby Project helps parents experiencing homelessness to write and record personalized lullabies for their children. Barker has worked with several of the mothers, partnering with them to write and compose their lullabies. Although usually Seattle Symphony musicians and teaching artists perform and record each lullaby, for one of the mothers named Sabrina, Barker’s encouragement resulted in Sabrina performing and recording her own her own lullaby. She has also performed her lullaby alongside Barker and other Symphony musicians in front of family and friends at Benaroya Hall.

“It is such an honor to be recognized by the King County Council for my work in the community through the Seattle Symphony. The most fulfilling part of my job as a musician is bringing my art form outside the concert hall to connect with people who might not otherwise be reached, and our Simple Gifts Initiative and collaborations with organizations like Mary’s Place provide perfect opportunities to do so. I hope this recognition serves to highlight the tremendous work in education and community engagement the Seattle Symphony and other arts organizations in our region do every day, and to demonstrate the power of art to inspire and uplift every person in King County,” said Barker.

The full text of Barker’s recognition is as follows:


        WHEREAS, since joining the Seattle Symphony in 2015, Jeffrey Barker has routinely enriched audiences in the Puget Sound region as associate principal flute; and

         WHEREAS, recognizing the transformative power of music, Barker has also worked to improve lived experiences beyond concert halls through music education and community engagement; and

         WHEREAS, Barker collaborated on developing Sensory Friendly Concerts, coached sectionals for side-by-side performances with local high schools, and actively supported the Seattle Symphony’s Lullaby Project and Simple Gifts initiative, which empowers individuals experiencing homelessness to connect with their creativity; and

         WHEREAS, Barker is an advocate for the homeless, helping Mary’s Place fundraise for shelter space; and

WHEREAS, the Ford Musician Awards honor those in the orchestra field who employ music for the benefit of the greater community; and

         WHEREAS, because of his profound impact on the community and his inspiring fellow musicians to give generously of their time and expertise in the community, on June 14, 2018 Jeffrey Barker was honored with the Ford Musician Award for Excellence in Community Service from the League of American Orchestras in Chicago, Illinois;

         NOW, THEREFORE, we, the Metropolitan King County Council, recognize


for his exceptional service to the community and offer our congratulations on this high honor.

DATED this twenty-fifth day of June, 2018.

The Seattle Symphony’s Community programs are supported by the Ann & Gordon Getty Foundation, Citi Community Capital, KeyBank Foundation, the League of American Orchestras, the Puyallup Tribe of Indians, Tulalip Tribes Charitable Fund, the U.S. Bank Foundation, Wells Fargo Foundation, the Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati Foundation, and individual contributions to the Seattle Symphony Annual Fund.


A Seattle native, Jeffrey Barker began his position as Associate Principal Flute of the Seattle Symphony in the 2015–2016 season. Previously, he played as Principal Flute of the Boise Philharmonic since 2009. He has performed as guest principal flute of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and the Oregon Symphony, and as a substitute in the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Barker is passionate about connecting with audiences of all ages and backgrounds, collaborating with the Seattle Symphony’s Education and Community Engagement team in a variety of programs including the Lullaby Project, Sensory Friendly Concerts and Tiny Tots. Barker received his Bachelor of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music under the instruction of Bonita Boyd, and his Master of Music degree from Carnegie Mellon University, where his teachers were Jeanne Baxtresser and Alberto Almarza.


Now in its third year, the League of American Orchestras’ Ford Musician Awards program honors and celebrates professional orchestra musicians who provide exemplary and meaningful service in their communities and make a significant impact through education and community engagement. The Awards, made possible by the generous support of Ford Motor Company Fund, shine a spotlight on the work of these musicians with people of low incomes, the elderly, immigrants, veterans, prisoners, students and all those who may not otherwise have access to — or who are not traditionally served by — orchestras.

The musicians were selected by a panel of peer professionals through a competitive nomination process to receive the awards, which include a $2,500 grant to each musician, as well as an additional $2,500 grant to the musician’s home orchestra to support professional development focused on community service and engagement for musicians.

The five award recipients for 2018 and their orchestras are:
Jeffrey Barker, Associate Principal Flute, Seattle Symphony
Lullaby Project, Sensory Friendly Concerts, Simple Gifts Initiative, among others

John R. Beck, Principal Percussion, Winston-Salem Symphony
HealthRHYTHMS drumming with cancer and pediatric behavioral health patients; collaborative research study with physicians on the benefits of interactive group drumming.

Jody Chaffee, Flute II and Piccolo Chair, Community Engagement Director, Personnel Manager, Librarian, Firelands Symphony Orchestra and Chorale (OH)
Providing in-school access to quality music programs for students in rural communities

Erin Hannigan, Principal Oboe, Dallas Symphony Orchestra
Concerts for Kindness, DSO’s Young Strings program, DSO Teen Council

Juan R. Ramírez Hernández, Violin, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
Musicians in Schools, Musicians in Communities, and Talent Development Program, among others

Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services — the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company — works with community and global partners to advance driving safety, education and community life. Ford Motor Company Fund has operated for more than 67 years with ongoing funding from Ford Motor Company. Ford Driving Skills for Life is free, interactive, hands-on safety training focused on skill development and driving techniques, while addressing inexperience, distractions and impaired driving. Innovation in education is encouraged through Ford Blue Oval Scholars, Ford Driving Dreams, Ford Next Generation Learning and other innovative programs that enhance high school learning and provide college scholarships and university grants. The Ford Volunteer Corps enlists more than 30,000 Ford employees and retirees each year to work on local projects that strengthen their communities and improve people’s lives in more than 40 countries around the world. For more information, visit


The Lullaby Project is part of Simple Gifts, the Seattle Symphony’s organization-wide commitment to homelessness in Seattle and King County. The Seattle Symphony’s Simple Gifts initiative aims to empower individuals who are experiencing homelessness to connect with their creativity; develop deeper roots in the community through service, advocacy and collaboration; spark joy and inspire hope in individuals and communities that face disproportionate amounts of hardship; and raise awareness of the homelessness crisis that is occurring in King County. The Seattle Symphony is a national partner with Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute through the Lullaby Project.


The Seattle Symphony is one of America's leading symphony orchestras and is internationally acclaimed for its innovative programming and extensive recording history. Under the leadership of Music Director Ludovic Morlot since September 2011, the Symphony is heard from September through July by more than 500,000 people through live performances and radio broadcasts. It performs in one of the finest modern concert halls in the world — the acoustically superb Benaroya Hall — in downtown Seattle. Its extensive education and community engagement programs reach over 65,000 children and adults each year. The Seattle Symphony has a deep commitment to new music, commissioning many works by living composers each season. The orchestra has made nearly 150 recordings and has received three Grammy Awards, 23 Grammy nominations, two Emmy Awards and numerous other accolades. In 2014 the Symphony launched its in-house recording label, Seattle Symphony Media.

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