Clyn D. Barrus was born March 3, 1943, in Rexburg, Idaho, a son of Ruth and C. LaMar Barrus.
From 1960-1963, Barrus studied at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia after which time he left to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to Austria. Following his marriage to Marilyn Biddulph, the couple moved to Austria, where Barrus studied at the Vienna Academy of Music, graduating with highest honors.
Upon returning to the United States several years later, he earned a doctorate of musical arts degree from the University of Michigan.
Following graduation, he was awarded the position as principal violist with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra. From 1970-1972, he was the violist in the Illinois String Quartet and taught at the University of Southern Illinois. The next thirteen years were spent as principal violist with the Minnesota Orchestra where he was a frequent soloist.
While in Minnesota, he also taught viola at the University of Minnesota, played in the University string quartet and conducted the Minneapolis Civic Orchestra and the Minnesota Youth Symphony.
As a soloist and member of numerous chamber music groups, he performed across Europe, Asia, North America, and Australia.
Clyn D. Barrus came to Brigham Young University in 1985, after a twenty year professional performance career that spanned the globe.
When appointed Director of Orchestras at Brigham Young University, he conducted the Philharmonic and the Chamber Orchestras, taking students on many tours throughout the world. In 1993, he was made chairman of the Department of Music, and was instrumental in changing that department into a School of Music, serving as its first director. He held that position while continuing to conduct the Chamber Orchestra, teach viola, as well as conduct the Utah Valley Symphony until August of 1997.
Family and Personal Life
Barrus served an LDS mission in Austria during the mid 1960’s. Upon returning he married his sweetheart, Marilyn Biddulph, in the Idaho Falls Temple. Together they traveled the world. Throughout his career, his family remained a priority, raising six children: David, Laura, Brian, Jennifer, Sarah and Melynda.
Barrus was always very active in the LDS Church, serving in many callings, including high councils, numerous bishoprics, bishop of the St. Paul 1st ward and of the BYU 76th ward, teacher and ward mission leader.
In August 1997, Barrus became ill and was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. Following surgery and other treatments, Barrus passed away on February 27, 1998.
While his many achievements as a musician and educator were distinguished, his most significant attribute was his genuine concern for others and his ability to extend sincere love and support for all with whom he came in contact.