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Karen Donnelly (Principal Trumpet, National Arts Centre Orchestra)

Karen Donnelley photoFollowing three successful seasons, as Acting Principal Trumpet of the National Arts Centre Orchestra, Karen Donnelly was unanimously appointed Principal Trumpet in October 1999. A native of Regina, Saskatchewan, Karen became hooked on the trumpet in her elementary school band program. While she displayed a natural ability for the instrument, she started her formal training much later at the University of Regina.

After completing her Bachelor of Arts in Music, Ms. Donnelly received a major bursary from the Saskatchewan Arts Board to continue studying at McGill University (Montreal) where she completed a Master's of Music in 1991. While in Montreal, she quickly became one of the most sought-after trumpet players in the area, performing with premier ensembles such as the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Les Violons du Roy and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens Orchestra.

From 1994-1996, Karen played with Orchestra London (Canada) as Principal Trumpet and performed with many ensembles in southwestern Ontario during this period.

Since her arrival in Ottawa in 1996, Karen has also kept a busy chamber music schedule performing many concerts for CBC (French and English) and with the Ottawa Chamber Music Festival. As a member of the Rideau Lakes Brass Quintet, she is very active in giving educational concerts and workshops in schools. Also a member of the large ensemble, Capital BrassWorks, Karen is very involved in the organization and presentation of this group's highly successful concert series held in Ottawa. The Capital BrassWorks recently released its second CD featuring Ms. Donnelly as soloist.

In addition, Ms. Donnelly performs as soloist with groups varying from professional orchestras, to community amateur orchestras, to many local school bands. The NAC commissioned a work written by NAC Composer in Residence Gary Kulesha, to specially feature Karen. In Novemeber 2005, the NAC Orchestra toured Saskatchewan and Alberta performing this work throughout each province. Ms. Donnelly has also been soloist with ensembles such as Thirteen Strings Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra London, McGill Symphony Orchestra, Hannaford Silver Street Band, Maple Leaf Brass Band, the Regina Catholic Schools Honour Band, just to name a few.

Teaching continues to be an important part of Karen's schedule. Through the NAC Music Education programs, Karen has given master classes in Switzerland, Mexico, the United States and in Canada from coast to coast and currently works as a volunteer teacher in Ottawa's "Orkidstra" program for inner-city school children.  Ms. Donnelly joined the teaching staff of the Music Department of the University of Ottawa in 2002.

Thanks to the generosity of the Canada Council for the Arts, Karen has been able to embark on a professional development program to study with Philip Smith, Principal Trumpet of the New York Philharmonic.