As soloist and chamber musician, Alister has given recitals in Australia, Europe, Taiwan and Canada. In Australia, he has broadcast live on ABC Classic FM and 3MBS FM. Committed to promoting new music, Alister frequently collaborates with pianist Michael Kieren Harvey to perform new compositions for cello and piano. Alister also gives regular recitals with his wife, cellist Chien-Hsiu Ong.

Alister's experience has an orchestral musician is extensive and he has served as principal cello under conductors Oleg Caetani, Diego Masson, Gary Walker and Daniel Harding. Alister has worked as a freelance cellist with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne Chamber Orchestra, Victorian Opera and the Halle Orchestra and the ASTRA Chamber Choir amongst others. In 2010 and 2011, he served as cellist in the Monash Academy Ensemble, resident at Monash University.

Passionate about the importance of musical eduction in the community, Alister has taught extensively in a wide variety of contexts since graduating from the Royal Northern College of Music 2003.

Alister Barker received his initial musical training in Melbourne with Ida Koenders, Vivien Mackie and Nelson Cooke. In 1996, he received an International Scholarship from the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music to complete undergraduate studies at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, UK. Following his graduation in 2000, Alister returned to the RNCM as a postgraduate student and was awarded the College's highly prized Professional Performance Diploma in April 2003.

Alister's primary cello teachers in the UK were Kim Bak Dinitzen and latterly Karine Georgian. Alister also derived much inspiration from his contact in master courses with cellists Ralph Kirshbaum, Truls Mørk, Reinhardt Latzko and Katinka Klein.

Prior to his return to Melbourne in late 2005, Alister worked as a freelance cellist and cello teacher in Manchester for several years. Between 2007 and 2009, he participated in the inspirational programs of the Australian National Academy of Music, as a student of Howard Penny and Nicholas Bochner.

Alister gratefully acknowledges the support he has received from The Australian National Academy of Music, The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, The Ian Potter Foundation, The Abbado European Young Musician’s Trust, The Loan Fund for Musical Instruments and many other organisations and individuals.