Cyrilla Barr

The Rome School community is deeply saddened by the passing of Dr. Cyrilla Barr on January 1, 2021. She was a professor emerita and the former head of the musicology division in the Rome School.

Cyrilla Patricia Barr was born on February 9, 1929, in Carroll, Iowa, to Ernest Melvin Barr and Elizabeth Marie Barr, née Schumacher. In 1956, she earned a bachelor’s degree in music education from Viterbo College in Lacrosse, Wisconsin. She earned a master’s degree in music the following year from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, after which she taught as an associate professor at Viterbo College. In 1965, she was awarded her doctorate from the Catholic University of America. In 1976, Barr returned to Catholic University as a professor and taught in the Rome School for more than two decades, finally retiring in 1999 and earning her professor emerita status.

Dr. Barr was the recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship to Italy (1963-1964), the I. Tatti Fellowship to the Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies in Florence, Italy (1974-1975), several grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and earned Catholic University's "Outstanding Teacher" award twice, in 1990 and 1993. She also held memberships and offices in the American Musicological Society, the College Music Society, and the Sonneck Society.

Throughout her career, Dr. Barr lectured widely in the United States and Europe on aspects of Italian medieval studies, women's studies, and twentieth-century music patronage, and authored several books and articles published in scholarly journals. 

Friends and colleagues in the Rome School remember Dr. Barr as an extraordinary, kind, and generous woman, and a brilliant, impactful professor who trained generations of some of the nation's premier scholars and teachers.

Condolences may be sent to Professor Emerita Barr's nephew, Michael Bayer, at the following address: 1311 E 11th St., Carroll, Iowa 51401. Barr’s family is making funeral arrangements for Fall 2021.