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Violinist Carmen Abelson (she/her/hers) works throughout the Chicagoland and Midwest areas as a solo, chamber, and orchestral performer and music educator. A member and sometimes concertmaster of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago for three years, Abelson was a Civic Orchestra Fellow from 2017 through 2019, in which year she won positions with the West Michigan Symphony and Illinois Symphony Orchestra. Abelson has since won positions with the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra and Elgin Symphony Orchestra. She is also a member of Varo String Quartet and Four Equals String Quartet, as well as a core member of 5th Wave Ensemble, a collective dedicated to the performance of works by womxn and non-binary composers. Abelson has been a teaching artist at The People’s Music School since 2019, as well as working with students at Glenbard East High School, Hyde Park Youth Symphony, and maintaining a small private studio. Abelson became an Adjunct Professor of Violin at the University of Illinois at Springfield in January 2022. 


Abelson began studying the violin at age five through a visiting music program at her Chicago Public School. A member of the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras from age nine through high school, she went on to pursue her passion for the violin at Rice University. While there, Abelson discovered a twin passion for music history and culture, and wrote her undergraduate thesis George Gershwin’s An American in Paris: Bridging the American Musical Gap in pursuance of a double-degree in violin performance and musicology. She went on to marry interests in history and period performance, musical culture and outreach, and collaborative performance throughout studies at Sam Houston State University (MM) and DePaul University (Performer’s Certificate).


Abelson currently lives in the Brighton Park neighborhood of Chicago with her roommate, four cats, and a dog. In addition to her professional work as a violinist, she performs as a member of “Susan and Sons” with her mother and sister and with the Bristol Busk ‘n’ Frolic at the Bristol Renaissance Faire. She also enjoys reading, writing, and does amateur tattoos. Abelson believes strongly in the power music has to connect and delight, and hopes to build a career full of musical exploration, collaboration, and dissemination across social and political lines.

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