Karen Strand

Oboe; English Horn


Describe your role with Portland Opera

I joined Portland Opera Orchestra in January 1985; I was new in town and fresh out of grad school. My first opera was Verdi’s Masked Ball, which has not been done here since. Maybe again, soon?

What music/book/movie/show/poem/place/moment is currently inspiring you?

I’ve been working for USPS since the Covid shut down last spring. It is amazing how many musicians, music lovers and opera aficionados I meet on my delivery routes!  That heartens me about our role as musicians in the community matters, and how intertwined we are as a society. We can get through all this!

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I always wanted to make a living in the arts, either as a musician or as an oil painter. I had art lessons when very young, long before I played an instrument.

In my free time, you can usually find me...

Outside! I love water sports, such as outrigger canoe, kayaking, competitive dragon boat. Since some of that is on hold I’ve been doing more hiking and cycling.

What has your favorite quarantine activity been?

Trying to teach my old dog some new tricks. Tricks maybe not so successful but we have a lot of fun. Maybe she’s the one teaching her old human some new tricks.

What is your favorite Portland Opera memory?

Playing the national anthem in September 2001 for the season opener shortly after the 9/11 attacks. We were led by a Russian conductor for that production and he seemed to know how moving that would be for everyone.

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