Violinist MICHELLE BRAZIER has played with the Princeton Symphony Orchestra since 1996. Michelle grew up as a “Suzuki kid” in the 1970s, the daughter of a Suzuki piano teacher, attending the American Suzuki Institute every summer in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. A native of Chicago, Michelle began her violin studies at age three, piano at age seven, and during high school studied violin, viola, and chamber music with Almita and Roland Vamos at the Music Institute of Chicago. Her summer music studies included Interlochen, Meadowmount, and the Bowdoin International Music Festival in Maine.
Michelle completed her BA at Yale in English Literature and her PhD in English at Rutgers. As an undergraduate, she studied violin performance with Syoko Aki in the Yale School of Music, was assistant concertmaster of the Yale Symphony Orchestra, and a member of the Yale Glee Club. Prior to moving to New Jersey for graduate school, Michelle lived in Missoula, Montana, where she was principal 2nd violin in the Missoula Symphony Orchestra. She served as concertmaster of the Garden State Philharmonic from 1996-2000. A lover of opera, symphonic choral works, and musical theater, she plays whenever possible with Princeton Pro Musica, Westminster Choir College, and The Princeton Festival. She has performed as a soloist at the Kennedy Center and in ensembles at Carnegie Hall, the Kimmel Center, and Orchestra Hall in Chicago, with highlights backing Ray Charles, k.d. lang, Barbara Cook, and Plácido Domingo.
Michelle is currently an associate professor in English at Raritan Valley Community College (RVCC) where she teaches writing composition and literature. She is lead co-author of a writing composition textbook entitled Writing from the Inside Out: Reading for College Composition, forthcoming from Bedford/St. Martin’s Press. She performs annually as a guest violinist on RVCC Music Faculty Recitals, and has provided music education programming at the RVCC Children’s Campus and Kangaroo Kids Childcare. Michelle lives in Bound Brook, NJ with her wife and two children – a 6-year-old cellist and a 9-year-old violinist – both of whom study with Suzuki teachers in Princeton.