- M.M., Juilliard School of Music
- M.B.A., University of Colorado
- B.M.E. with Honors, University of Colorado
- Certified Music Practitioner, MHTP
- Certificate in Theology, Denver Seminary
- Studies in Nice, France and Netherlands
- Interlochen National Music Camp, Michigan
Barbara W. Lepke-Sims is an active and well-known professional harpist in the Denver area. She earned her Master of Music at the Juilliard School of Music in 1978, studying under Susann McDonald. As a versatile and successful musician Barbara focuses on five main areas: education, performance, therapeutic music, administration, and philanthropy.
As an educator, Barbara is currently an Affiliate Professor of Applied Harp at Regis University and Colorado Christian University. She is experienced in all levels of instruction, previously teaching at Colorado State University, Colorado Academy, in Jefferson County schools, where she started a harp ensemble which was invited to play at many important district and community service events, and in her private studio.
As a performer, Barbara performs in many capacities as a soloist, with chamber ensembles, and as a regular member or guest of many orchestras and choirs in Colorado. Performance highlights include work with the Denver Symphony, Musica Sacra Chamber Orchestra, Colorado Music Festival, Colorado Ballet, Lonetree Symphony, Lakewood Symphony, Denver Chamber Orchestra, Boulder Symphony, touring Broadway musicals, Young Audiences, Lincoln Center Student programs, Juilliard Philharmonic, Colorado Children’s Chorale, Young Voices, and The Colorado Chorale.
Barbara is the harpist of choice for playing the longest running musical, “The Fantasticks.” Having first performed the musical in high school, she has over 2,000 performances to her credit, including a six-month engagement at the Sullivan St. Playhouse in Greenwich Village, NY. In March, 2015, Barbara performed “The Fantasticks” with Denver-based Phamaly Theatre Company in Osaka, Japan, as a week-long cultural and educational exchange program.
President George H. Bush called Barbara the “Harpist of the Presidents” because of her experience playing for presidents, dignitaries and VIPs, including former Presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H. Bush, Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon; Governors Hickenlooper, Owens, Romer, and Lamm; Mayors Hickenlooper, Webb, and Pena; and dignitaries such as Madeline Albright and John Sutherland.
As a therapeutic musician, Barbara is also a Certified Music Practitioner, having been trained through the Music for Healing and Transition Program (www.mhtp.org). She plays for patients by their bedside at local healthcare facilities including Children's Hospital Colorado and Centura Health hospitals. Barbara is the Denver area coordinator for MHTP and serves on their National Advisory Board. Barbara recently released her latest CD, Music for the Heart...from the Heart, featuring 56 minutes of calm, relaxing solo harp music.
The American Harp Journal published an article written by Barbara entitled, “The Confluence of Three Major Influences in the Field of Music and the Delivery of Medicare Care” (Vol. 24, No. 3 Summer 2014) which received wonderful reviews.
As an administrator, Barbara is very active in the American Harp Society, having served as Chairman of the Board, Chairman of the 1988 National AHS Conference in Denver, Chairman of the Long Range Planning Committee, Presidential Advisory, Editorial Board of the American Harp Journal, and in many other roles and responsibilities. She is currently serving on the Executive Committee of the AHS Board of Directors as 1st Vice-President. Because of Barb’s role in the American Harp Society, she has attended almost every National Conference since 1978.
As Director of the Boulder Public Library Series for many years she contributed to the cultural enhancement of the Boulder Community. Barbara oversaw the grand opening of their recital hall. She has been Director of the Harp Fantasia concert for several years, which features a fifty-person harp ensemble and is part of the Lakewood Cultural Center Concert Series.
As a philanthropist, in 2000 Barbara and her husband, Mike, initiated the Weiger Lepke Sims family Church Composition Award through the American Harp Society Foundation. This award is currently going through transition in how it is to be distributed.
In 2015, Barbara established The Mabel Fulton Weiger Composition Award for Sacred Music. The purpose of this award is to expand the repertoire of the harp in a sacred setting. It was created to honor all of Barbara's family members who have loved and encouraged her musical pursuits and in memory of her grandmother, Mabel Fulton Weiger (1900-1945), who was a church organist and staff organist for Moody Bible Institute Radio programs, and for Barb’s father, Ralph J Weiger. The first recipient of this award was Toronto composer, Mian Chen, for “Our God Saves” for choir and two harps or soprano, alto, and solo harp.