BM, Luther College
Co-chair, Department of Music Performance. Mezzo-soprano. Karen Brunssen’s singing career has spanned more than 30 years, including solo appearances with Cleveland Orchestra and Chicago, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Houston, St. Louis, National, San Diego, Seattle, Milwaukee, Netherlands Radio, and Mexico City Symphony Orchestras, Buffalo Philharmonic, Cincinnati Opera, Music of the Baroque, Blossom Festival, Waterloo Festival, Chicago Opera Theatre, Carmel Bach Festival, Colorado Music Festival, and Prague Autumn Festival. Recent engagements include Bach's Cantatas 94 and 45 at the Thomaskirche in Leipzig, Germany, in 2012 and 2014; a European tour performing Verdi's Requiem in Germany, France, Spain, and Switzerland, as well as at the Berkshire Choral Festival and Memphis Symphony; and numerous performances of Lee Hoiby's Bon Appetit and Durafle's Requiem with Grant Park Music Festival. Recordings include Telemann's Day of Judgment, Mozart's Mass in C Minor, and Monteverdi's Vespers of 1610 with Music of the Baroque, a revival of John Philip Sousa's operetta Desiree, and other recordings on Decca and Vox MMG.
Noted for her spirited and inspiring presentations, Ms Brunssen is a frequent guest clinician, master teacher, panelist, and adjudicator for music schools and organizations including the National Association of Teachers of Singing Conferences (NATS) in 2012 and 2014, NATS National Workshops in Milwaukee and Memphis in 2011 and 2012, the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), Classical Singer Conference and Convention, Association of Teachers of Singing (AOTOS - England), Opera America, Illinois Choral Directors' Association, Iowa Choral Directors' Association, and Chorus America. In 2008, 2009, 2010, 2013, and 2014 Brunssen was invited to do unique week-long teaching residencies at Cambridge University in England and as a guest of Clare and Robinson Colleges, where she gave voice lessons, master classes, and taught classes and workshops involving 19 of the colleges. She has also taught at the Zürcher Sing-Akademie in Switzerland, Castleton Music Festival, the International Institute of Vocal Arts in Chiari, Italy, and at Dorian Opera Theatre. She serves on the national board of NATS as governor of the Central Region and is the program chair for the NATS National Conference in 2016.
Her recent article, "The Evolving Voice: Profound at Every Age," appeared in the ACDA's Choral Journal (February 2010) and was based on a 2008 ACDA Central Division interest session presentation titled "Ages of the Voice." It included recorded examples of singing from the ages of three months to 103 years of age, highlighting the life cycle of individual voices, professional and amateur, through their years of singing. She has presented on this topic often for area organizations, NATS chapters, and national conferences. She will present "The Evolving Voice: The Senior Years" at the ACDA National Conference in 2015.
Ms. Brunssen's students have gone on to sing professionally and as young artists with the Metropolitan Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Canadian Opera, Washington National Opera's Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program, Merola and Adler Programs with San Francisco Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Chautauqua, Des Moines Metro Opera, Minnesota Opera, New York City Opera, Wolf Trap, Aspen Music Festival, Chicago Opera Theatre, and Sarasota Opera, and teach in in colleges and universities throughout the United States.