Chicago Philharmonic Violinist Kathleen Brauer

Chi Phil Chats - Kathleen Brauer
Kathleen Brauer made her solo debut with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra when she was just fifteen years old. Not long after, she graduated with high honors in violin performance from the University of Michigan and then earned a Master of Music degree from Yale University. She’s played in ensembles and festivals all over the world and is concertmaster for Eight Seasons on February 7, 2016. Read what she had to say about what she’s listening to, old classmate turned Chicago Philharmonic colleague David Perry, and more.

Q: Where are you from?
A: I’m from Delafield, Wisconsin.

Q: What inspired you to become a musician? 

A: When I was growing up, I was inspired by performances of outstanding violinists who were close to my age. I especially remember hearing David Perry play the Sibelius Concerto when we were both students at the Stevens Point Suzuki Institute and a recital given by Joshua Bell in Milwaukee while I was in high school. They inspired me to practice more!

I enjoyed playing with the youth orchestras in Milwaukee’s excellent program and fell in love with string quartets from the first time I played one at age eleven. Most exciting of all was the opportunity to perform a movement of a Wieniawski concerto with the Milwaukee Symphony at age fifteen. All of these experiences showed me that making music would be a wonderful way to spend my life and inspired me to audition for music school.

Q: If you could play any other instrument, what would it be? 

A: I’ve always loved the French Horn. I love the sound of the cello, too. My husband is a cellist, so I get to enjoy it almost as much as if I played it myself.

Q: What music are you listening to these days? 

A: I’ve been listening to various artists’ recordings of Bach’s solo sonatas and partitas, in an effort to gain new understanding. They are pieces for a lifetime. After Lyric Opera’s concert with Placido Domingo last weekend, I’ve been hunting through his huge discography. I love the zarzuela music, which is unfamiliar to me. He is an incredible performer, and it was a thrill to be on stage with him. In my car CD player, I have a composite CD of Brazilian jazz, which my whole family loves, and which keeps us in a good mood through Chicago traffic.

Q: What might someone be surprised to learn about you? 
A: I love to hike, kayak, and cross-country ski, and I just learned to downhill ski two years ago.