Karen Fannin has been music director of
LRWS since 2006. Dr. Fannin is also Director of Bands and Assistant Professor of Music at Hendrix College, where she conducts the wind ensemble and teaches conducting, low brass, and courses in twentieth-century music and fundamentals of music. In 2008, she founded the Festival of Winds Honor Band for high school musicians held at Hendrix College each May.
Fannin holds a Doctor of Musical Arts in Conducting and Literature from the University of Colorado, where she studied with Allan McMurray. She received a Master of Music in Conducting from Northwestern University, where she was a student of Mallory Thompson, and a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from the University of Northern Iowa, where she studied euphonium with Jeffrey Funderburk. Upon graduation from UNI, Dr. Fannin was awarded the Purple and Old Gold Award for Conspicuous Achievement in Music.
Prior to her studies at CU, Dr. Fannin served as Director of Bands at Lockport Township High School in suburban Chicago, where she instituted a composer-in-residence program. A native of Iowa, Dr. Fannin also held the position of Director of Bandsin the Lynnville-Sully Community Schools.
Dr. Fannin maintains an active schedule as a guest conductor and clinician. Recently, she has conducted honor ensembles in British Columbia, Washington, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Arkansas. She has presented research at national and state conferences. Her paper “Tracing the Lineage of Nadia Boulanger through American Wind Repertoire” was selected for presentation at the 2007 National Convention of the College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA) in Ann Arbor, Michigan. By invitation, she presented her research in creating "Behind the Scenes with Little Rock Wind Symphony" (a masterworks concert in 2007-2008), at a Creativity Across the Curriculum conference of the National Institute for Technology and Liberal Education (NITLE) in Salem, Oregon in October 2008. Dr. Fannin has presented on topics such as communication in music as well as parallels between the ensemble and business. She is a contributing author to the seventh volume of the Teaching Music Through Performance in Band series published by GIA.
Dr. Fannin’s professional affiliations include Pi Kappa Lambda, College Band Directors National Association, World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles, Music Educators National Conference, Arkansas Bandmasters Association, Arkansas Music Educators Association, and the Arkansas School Band and Orchestra Association. Dr. Fannin's conducting schedule is available on her website, KarenFannin.com.