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Karen McKinnon

poet

Poet Karen McKinnon was a Poet-in-the-Schools for the National Endowment for the Arts and Poet-in-Residence at the Wurlitzer Foundation in Taos, New Mexico. Karen earned both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at the University of New Mexico, where she taught creative writing through the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. In 2016, she endowed the University of New Mexico Foundation with annual poetry awards for undergraduate students, administered by the English Department. A voracious reader, Karen was always surrounded by the many books she was reading simultaneously, and she would often purposefully moderate the pace at which she read in order to savor the words and not finish too quickly. 

Karen was a poet of significant acclaim, having published five books of poetry. Her most recent book, By Heart, was published in 2018 and was dedicated to her grandchildren. David Johnson, Emeritus Professor of UNM, memorably noted that there was “nothing coy or tentative” about the poems in By Heart, observing that the individual poems produced “a kind of joy in creating a journey through the magic of metaphor and the consolation of nature and memory.”

By Heart features Karen’s most famous poem, “Moving My Mother,” which chronicles her mother’s heartbreaking descent into the dehumanizing agony of Alzheimer’s. This poem has struck such a universal chord that the New Mexico Philharmonic, which Karen loved and treasured, decided to honor her by creating an original symphonic work to this poem. The resultant work, Songs from By Heart, also features a symphonic movement set to another of Karen’s poems about her mother, “To Each Her Own.” The world-premiere performance of Songs from By Heart is currently scheduled for May 2022, and her family is absolutely certain that she will be watching from above with ineffable joy. λ

 
McKinnon, Karen -8876(57)

Meet the Musicians

FIRST VIOLIN
Carmelo de los Santos
Karen McKinnon Concertmaster Chair
Sarah Tasker •••
Assistant Concertmaster
Ana María Quintero Muñoz
Joan Wang +
Heidi Deifel
Juliana Huestis
Barbara Rivers
Nicolle Maniaci
Barbara Scalf Morris

SECOND VIOLIN
Rachel Jacklin •
Carol Swift •••
Julanie Lee
Jessica Retana ++
Liana Austin
Lidija Peno-Kelly
Sheila McLay
Brad Richards

VIOLA
Laura Chang
Kimberly Fredenburgh •••
Allegra Askew
Christine Rancier
Laura Steiner
Michael Anderson
Lisa DiCarlo
Joan Hinterbichler
Laura Campbell

CELLO
Amy Huzjak
Jonathan Flaksman •••

Carla Lehmeier-Tatum
Ian Mayne-Brody
Dana Winograd
David Schepps
Lisa Collins
Elizabeth Purvis

BASS
Mark Tatum ••
Katherine Olszowka
Terry Pruitt
Marco Retana
Frank Murry

FLUTE
Valerie Potter
Esther Fredrickson
Jiyoun Hur ••+
Noah Livingston ••++

PICCOLO
Esther Fredrickson

OBOE
Kevin Vigneau
Amanda Talley

ENGLISH HORN
Melissa Peña ••+
Rebecca Ray ••++

CLARINET
Marianne Shifrin
Lori Lovato •••
Jeffrey Brooks

E-FLAT CLARINET
Lori Lovato

BASS CLARINET
Jeffrey Brooks

BASSOON
Stefanie Przybylska •
Denise Turner

HORN
Peter Erb •+
Alana Yee +++
Allison Tutton
Andrew Meyers
Maria Long ••••

TRUMPET
John Marchiando
Brynn Marchiando
Sam Oatts ••

TROMBONE
Aaron Zalkind
Byron Herrington

BASS TROMBONE
David Tall +
Robinson Schulze ++

TUBA
Richard White

TIMPANI
Micah Harrow •+

PERCUSSION
Jeff Cornelius
Kenneth Dean
Emily Corneliu

Principal •
Associate Principal ••
Assistant Principal •••
Assistant ••••
Leave +
One-year position ++
Half-year position +++