Karen J. Bauer

Karen Bauer
Professor of Music
Director, Master of Music in Vocal Performance Program

At North Park since: 1977

With more than 30 years of experience at North Park’s School of Music, Dr. Karen Bauer has seen the programs and student body grow and change in ever expanding ways that challenge aspiring musicians and nurture their professional development. “This is a place where potential is developed and the groundwork is laid for meaningful and successful professional careers,” Dr. Bauer says. She adds that the balance between rigor and personal attention is the ideal environment for musicians.

Teaching vocal pedagogy to both undergraduate graduate students, Dr. Bauer's classes explore the mechanics of the vocal instrument as well as te art of teaching voice. Her experience and expertise in the classroom and voice studio offer a new understanding of the singing voice to all her students. Her book, The Essentials of Beautiful Singing: A Three Step Kinesthetic Approach, will be released in September 2013.

As a mentor, Dr. Bauer is also able to provide the knowledge and guidance students need as they work toward their own goals as musicians. She adds that North Park's location in the city is a great resource for students. “Chicago is a very important place for singers,” she says. “They start interacting with it when they do auditions and competitions, and when they begin jobbing in the city and surroundings.”

“Students’ professional standards are stimulated by hearing world class music performance of all types,” she adds. “It enriches their concept of the profession and encourages them toward higher levels of mastery.”

As a director, coach, and professor of voice, Dr. Bauer has been a driving force in all aspects of the vocal program in the School of Music. She developed the master of music in vocal performance degree program and while she now focuses on instruction in voice, she has previously directed a number of the School’s ensembles, including the Chamber Singers and the North Park opera program. She received her training in opera under Boris Goldovsky and Robert Gay, and taught voice and Italian diction at the Operafestival di Roma in Italy for two seasons.

Dr. Bauer is a mezzo soprano and has sung under the direction of Robert Shaw, Leonard Slatkin, Georg Solti, Carlo-Maria Giulini, and many other conductors. She has coached singers who are now performing and teaching professionally in the United States and Europe. She has presented master classes in a variety of settings, including the Classical Singer Convention and College Expo in New York, Philadelphia, and San Francisco. In the United States she has taught master classes at colleges and universities including at Valparaiso, Illinois Wesleyan, Wheaton, Bradley, St. Olaf, and Lawrence. Internationally and most recently, Dr. Bauer presented voice master classes in London, England, to undergraduate and graduate students at Goldsmith College, a branch of the University of London.


  • DM, Voice, Northwestern University
  • MM, Voice, Northwestern University
  • BM, Voice, Northwestern University
“This is a place where potential is developed and the groundwork is laid for meaningful and successful professional careers.”