Kathleen Brauer, Violin
Hometown: Delafield, Wisconsin
Joined Lyric Orchestra in 1996
Education: Yale University, University of Michigan
Was there a specific moment or experience during which you first connected with your instrument, or with opera in general?
I played my first opera while I was a student at Yale. It was a School of Music production of La Boheme, and I fell in love with the beauty and drama of the art form. I remember experiencing a little good-natured teasing from my friends for tearing up in the pit at the end of the performance.
Share a favorite audition story:
My audition for Lyric was in December, in the middle of a snowstorm. My violin was not fond of the weather, or of the dry indoor air. On the day in between my preliminary audition and the final round, it developed a buzz in the sound. I took it to the violin maker on the morning of the final audition, but he was unable to find the source of the strange vibration, or fix it. As the time of the audition approached, I borrowed another instrument from the shop and raced downtown. I played the final round on a violin that I had never seen before. I think it added excitement to the performance, at least for me!
With which other orchestras have you performed?
I was fortunate to gain some professional experience while still a student, with the New Haven Symphony, and with several orchestras in Michigan including Michigan Opera Theater in Detroit, where I served as assistant concertmaster. The experience with MOT enhanced my love of opera, and inspired me to audition for the Santa Fe Opera. I met my husband, cellist Mark Brandfonbrener there in the summer of 1995, and we still perform in Santa Fe every summer. I am also a member of Music of the Baroque, and I enjoy the intimate size of that ensemble, and the diversity of repertoire it allows me to perform.
Outside of the pit, I like to:
When I have free time, I like to hike, kayak, and ski. I enjoy reading both fiction and non- fiction, and attending some of the excellent theater productions that Chicago offers. Most of my non-musical time is spent keeping up with the activities of my three children, and planning family adventures, especially outdoors. I look forward to having more travel opportunities as the children get older.