Karen Fannin serves as Director of the School of Music, Professor of Conducting, and holds the
Robert M. Spire Chair of Music at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Previously, Dr. Fannin
served as Director of Bands at UNO, conducting the Symphonic Wind Ensemble, teaching
undergraduate and graduate conducting, instructing courses in music education, and providing
leadership for all aspects of the UNO band program.
Before coming to Nebraska, Dr. Fannin was Director of Bands and Department Chair at Hendrix
College, and concurrently held the position of Music Director and Conductor of the Little Rock
Winds. A native of Iowa, Dr. Fannin began her teaching career in the Lynnville-Sully Schools as
Director of Bands and subsequently served as Director of Bands at Lockport Township High
School in suburban Chicago.
Dr. Fannin is in demand as a guest conductor, clinician, and adjudicator around the country and
abroad. Passionate about making interdisciplinary connections that impact a conductor’s work with
an ensemble, Dr. Fannin has presented on topics such as pacing in rehearsals and performance,
communication in music, parallels between the ensemble and business, and the lineage of Nadia
Boulanger through wind repertoire. She is published in the Journal of Band Research and is a
contributing author to the Teaching Music Through Performance in Band series published by GIA.
Dr. Fannin earned a Doctor of Musical Arts in Conducting from the University of Colorado, a
Master of Music in Conducting from Northwestern University, and a Bachelor of Music in Music
Education from the University of Northern Iowa, where she was honored with a Distinguished
Alumnus Award. Dr. Fannin is a member of the College Band Directors National Association
(CBDNA). She currently serves as President of the Nebraska State Bandmasters Association
(NSBA) and is a board member of the Omaha Area Youth Orchestras (OAYO).