KATE O'BRIEN, leader, violinist and musical arranger
for OBRIEN STRINGS, currently plays solo,
leads her own string duo, string
trio, string quartet, violin/guitar
duo and violin/piano duo,
and freelances throughout CT in several orchestras and theaters.
She can add trumpet, flute or harp
to the ensembles, and enjoys writing arrangements for all these
small groups. She also performs regularly with the group Themselves,
playing Celtic music and presenting their original historical dramas,
and is co-leader of the swing group Moxie.
Since founding the OBRIEN STRINGS ensembles in
1987, she has played at numerous weddings, private events, concerts,
school presentations, recording studios and outdoor festivals. Her
musical arranging skills allow her to tailor each performance, honoring
special requests. She continues to arrange a broad spectrum of classical
favorites, popular standards, and current music specifically for
her ensembles. Her string trio repertoire is one of a kind, and well known for its variety
and suitability for all types of events.
Kate maintains a private studio of violin and
viola students, and her teaching experience includes being the Director
of and primary teacher for a local Suzuki school, and several years
at Sacred Heart University.
She had her first professional music experience
with the Knoxville Symphony in Tennessee at age 15 (they paid for
her lessons). In between a BA from Swarthmore College and her music
career she earned an MLS from the University of Maryland School
of Library Science.
She spent 10 years playing electric violin and
guitar, leading her own dance bands doing rock, jazz, swing and
country, traveling throughout the US, Canada and the Caribbean,
and studying jazz with the legendary Linc Chamberland. For several
of those years, she and her husband, a rock 'n roll bass player,
led their band, Elixir, in CT, playing
5-6 nights per week at nightclubs, parties and weddings. Kate was
the only disco violinist around! She also did some traveling with
an all female C&W act, the Honky Tonk Angels, and spent a year on
the road with Julie Grant and Crystal Vision.
After her children were born, she returned to
classical and acoustic music, playing locally in orchestras (needed
a sit down job!), chamber music groups, acoustic bands, musical
theater shows, strolling at restaurants and private events, and
taking private violin lessons again.
She got called to play in a local orchestra, the
Bridgeport Symphony, and was very impressed by the Conductor
and Music Director, Gustav Meier, the high level of playing, joyful
enthusiasm for rehearsal, and the well organized administration
of the concert. In 1991, she successfully auditioned on violin,
has been playing with them ever since, and served as Personnel Manager
for many years as well. You can reach the GBSO at 203-576-2063 for
a reference and to find out more about this local gem of an orchestra.
1996 Andrius Faruolo violin, a Guarneri copy, has made Kate happier
than anything she has ever purchased before or since. Andrius lives
and works in NYC, and if you want more information about him, please