Where Are They Now? spotlights Minnesota Varsity Featured and Showcase Artists from 2011 to 2015.
Karen Baumgartner from Roseville, Minn., was a Minnesota Varsity 2011 & 2012 Featured Artist. She recently got in touch with Classical MPR's Christine Sweet to share her latest news.
Karen Baumgartner, Flute, 2011 & 2012 Featured Artist
Hometown: Roseville, Minn.
Attends: Indiana University, Bloomington, Ind.
I am currently a senior pursuing a degree in Flute Performance at Indiana University.
I love the moments when I am reminded of my experiences in Minnesota Varsity. Both my years in the competition gave me unforgettable experiences that I appreciate increasingly more when I think about them. The opportunity of recording in a studio that sees some of the finest musicians and performing for such a large radio audience was incredible. The experience deeply inspired me and made me even more excited to pursue my dream of being a professional orchestral musician. Four years have passed since I was last on Minnesota Public Radio as a part of Minnesota Varsity and I am thrilled to still be pursuing my dream.
While I am extremely thankful and blessed for the opportunity of pursuing a music career, I have come to a much deeper appreciation for those who succeeded as professional musicians and what it takes to get there. The path of becoming a professional musician is by no means an easy one and my time in college has definitely given me a better glimpse of that. Being surrounded by many talented musicians and opportunities can be simultaneously inspiring and discouraging. I easily worry about my comparison with my peers, instead of being content in the fact that I have worked as hard as I can to get to where I am now. The past few years taught me to become excited about learning from those around me and to stay motivated when things do not go the way I hoped. I do not enjoy the disappointments and hard times, but I nevertheless have learned and grown significantly from them. Those experiences have shaped me for the better into the musician and person I am today and I would not change them.
This school year I will apply for graduate schools to pursue a Master's Degree in Flute Performance and also intend to audition for professional orchestras. The uncertainty of this next year and graduate school auditions would normally be a stressful time, but I look forward to presenting the best of what I can offer. I can only control my preparation and my mentality throughout the process, so I will focus on performing my best instead of worrying about the outcome for each school. I trust that music is the path I am meant to pursue and am excited to see where it takes me. I know that the future will have its own ups and downs, but music will always remain a part of my life and be a gift that I will continue to share.
For information on this year's season of Minnesota Varsity, please visit the Minnesota Varsity homepage.