Biography

 

 

 

 

 

Katie Elizabeth von Braun was raised and homeschooled in the town of Burlington, Massachusetts. She began playing the piano under her mother’s tutelage at the age of 3 but discovered her love for the violin at age 9. She began taking Suzuki private lessons and by age 11 was playing in youth orchestras at the New England Conservatory of Music and later The Colburn School in Los Angeles. Katie attended high school at Phillips Academy Andover, where she was concertmaster of the orchestra and president of the community service teaching program Andover-Lawrence Strings. She continued taking theory classes, private lessons with Lynn Chang & Margaret Lysy, and chamber music at New England Conservatory. In 2009, her string quartet advanced to the semifinals of the Fischoff Chamber Competition and won second prize at the Chamber Music Foundation of New England Competition. Summer festivals during high school included Killington Summer Music, Boston University Tanglewood Institute, National Symphony Orchestra Summer Institute and Aria Festival. 

After graduating from Phillips Academy in 2009, Katie attended the University of Michigan School Of Music, Theatre and Dance on a merit-based scholarship, where she studied violin with Yehonatan Berick. During the summers, Katie expanded her musical studies at Aspen Festival (as assistant concertmaster), Brevard Festival (as concertmaster), Opera in the Ozarks (as concertmaster) and Utah Festival Opera & Musical Theater. She studied privately and in masterclasses with James Buswell, Mark O'Connor, Paul Kantor, Gregory Fulkerson, Paul Biss, Aaron Berofsky, Carolyn Huebl, Irina Muresanu, and Daniel Andai. While completing her bachelor’s degree at Michigan, Katie began to develop an interest in performing musical theater. She played in the pit orchestra of the University of Michigan Musical Theater Department and Gilbert & Sullivan Society, as well as the Young People’s Theatre in Ann Arbor and ACT Theater Company in Andover, Massachusetts. In 2013, Katie graduated magna cum laude from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance and minor in Sociocultural Anthropology. 

In the fall of 2013, Katie began her graduate violin studies with Ian Swensen at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM) on a Presidential Scholarship. Here, she was both concertmaster of the SFCM orchestra and one of the founding members of the Amaranth String Quartet. The graduate quartet embraced a diverse performing repertoire of classical music, original compositions and collaborations with singer-songwriters and dancers, striving to bring music beyond the concert hall to diverse audiences across the Bay Area. Amaranth Quartet was fiscally sponsored by the San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music, and participated in projects such as SF Friends of Chamber Music’s SF Music Day 2015, Oakland’s Art in Nature Festival, One Found Sound, the Legion of Honor British Works series, and an outreach residency with the Cypress String Quartet. Amaranth Quartet has performed at the historic Fillmore West as part of the venue’s first all-female lineup and has also appeared at Freight and Salvage, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and the late Viracocha. Amaranth has been a featured guest artist on several Bay Area radio programs and recorded the collaborative album The String Quartet Experience. 

Also, while studying and performing in the Bay Area, Katie joined the violin faculty at Amabile Music School. In the summer of 2014, Katie spent two months volunteering as a violin teacher at three music camps for children and adults in Haiti. Here she developed and nurtured a passion for music education as well as became one of the founding members of the Imbroglio Sextet. This unique string quartet/trumpet/conductor-composer ensemble first performed an original composition by Haitian composer Sydney Guillaume, and then went on to specialize in jazz and international music. Katie participated in two US tours with the group and recorded the album Imbroglio Haitiano in 2016. 

After graduating from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music in 2015, Katie moved to New York City and pursued her passion for teaching. She joined the music faculty at Opus 118 Harlem School of Music, a teaching organization founded by Roberta Guaspari and featured in the Meryl Streep movie “Music of the Heart”. Additionally, Katie joined the teaching faculty at Harmony Program and Ethical Culture Fieldston School and started a private teaching studio. Her teaching included group classes with elementary and middle school students (beginner-intermediate levels), private lessons from age 5-75, and youth orchestra mentoring. Katie was featured in the Opus 118 spring newsletter in 2017 http://opus118.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/48190_A-1-1.pdf. In February 2019, she was also featured, along with her Harmony Program group violin class, in an award-winning mini documentary called Music Lessons, by Lesley Grand:. https://vimeo.com/339734788. Later that month, Katie became certified in Book 1 of the Mark O’Connor Method, a bluegrass-focused strings method growing in popularity among many music programs. 

In addition to teaching, Katie continued performing with orchestras and opera companies in the New York City area, joining ensembles including Washington Heights Chamber Orchestra, Westchester Philharmonic, The Symphony of Westchester, dell’Arte Opera Ensemble, Bronx Opera Company, Cape Ann Symphony, CN Philharmonic and New Amsterdam Opera, where she was concertmaster. In March 2019, Katie made her Carnegie Hall debut performing with the Chamber Ensemble of Rome. She performs regularly with the Highline String Quartet and Silver Arrow Band, two of the premiere wedding & entertainment companies in New York. 

After working for two summers at Utah Festival Opera & Musical Theater in 2018, Katie continued to pursue her theater career that had begun at the University of Michigan. In September 2018, she joined the orchestra at Westchester Broadway Theatre as a solo violinist/concertmaster and went on to perform in their 2019-2020 productions of Phantom, Newsies, Mambo Italiano and An American in Paris. In March 2019, Katie made her Broadway debut in the Phantom of the Opera orchestra, where she has since subbed 11 times. In August 2019 she was invited to audition for the Radio City Christmas Spectacular Orchestra. Katie joined the second national touring production of Tony Award-winning musical An American In Paris in January 2020. The tour went on a mandatory hiatus in March due to COVID-19. In April, Katie will perform on viola with Phoenix Production's cast and orchestra on their reopening production Songs for a New World. 

 

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An American in Paris Tour Orchestra, 2020

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Solo performance with Phillips Academy Andover Orchestra, 2009 

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Amaranth Quartet, 2014

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Imbroglio Sextet on Tour, 2015

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Teaching students in Haiti, 2014

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Performing Handel's Messiah as Concertmaster with New Amsterdam Opera, 2018

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Broadway's Phantom of the Opera Orchestra, 2019

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Carnegie Hall debut with Chamber Orchestra of Rome, 2019