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  • Writer's pictureShea Stanfield

Creativity Abounds

The American poet Maya Angelou wrote, “You can’t use up creativity; the more you use, the more you have." Local violist, conductor, author, and composer Dr. Carolyn Waters Broe is a living example of the validity of this statement. Growing up in the beautiful rolling hills of Newport Beach, California, Carolyn started playing piano at seven, violin at eight, and the viola by ten; it would be the viola that became her instrumental partner in life. Carolyn's parents supported her dreams of becoming a professional musician; they spent hours driving her to viola lessons and weekly honor orchestra rehearsals. Carolyn credits her first viola teacher, Rene Bregozzo, an Italian concert violinist, with her love of music and teaching her the art of performing, which became the foundation of her successful musical career.

Carolyn joined an adult orchestra at fifteen and the University Symphony at the University of California, Irvine, by the age of seventeen while attending high school. She attended Chapman University in California, where she studied with Dr. Thomas Hall and Jerry Epstein of the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the University of California, Irvine, while completing a Bachelor's degree in music. During her studies for a Masters in Music History at California State University at Long Beach, Carolyn studied viola with Adriana Chirilov, solo violist from Rumania, Robert Becker, Principal Violist of Pacific Symphony, and Louis Kievman, violist with Toscanini’s NBC Symphony. All influenced her to do her master's thesis on J.S. Bach's Treatment of the Viola.

In 1980, Carolyn married clarinetist and businessman Steve Broe. By 1982 she had founded the Opus Four String Quartet, performing 75-100 professional concerts a year throughout Orange County, California. During this time, Carolyn also taught private violin, viola, and piano lessons. When the couple's son Jean Rene was born, she adjusted her music career to accommodate their growing family with no intention of setting her music aside. In 1990 Carolyn's husband, Steve, was hired for a Vice President of operations position in Phoenix, Arizona, resulting in the family's relocation to Scottsdale, Arizona. Carolyn joined the music community in her new home by founding the Four Seasons Orchestra of Scottsdale and the Four Seasons String Quartet. She also joined the facility of Glendale, Mesa, and Paradise Valley Community Collages as an orchestra teacher, where she taught violin, viola, and chamber music.

Arizona State University, Tempe, was Carolyn’s choice for a Doctorate in Music. The opportunity to study with William Magers was too good to pass up. Carolyn describes Magers as "A brilliant musician and historically grounded performer.” Her Doctoral dissertation focused on Louise Lincoln Kerr an Arizona composer and performer, "The String Compositions of Louise Lincoln Kerr." During this time, the couple's daughter Jasmine was born. At this point, Carolyn was handling the working mom role much as she would conduct an orchestra with calm, focus, and organized resolve.

She graduated with her DMA in 2001, expanding her passion for music from a sitting performer into a standing conductor. Carolyn pursued master classes with Leonard Bernstein, Herbert Blomstedt, Seiji Ozawa, and Dr. Michael Zearott, preparing to conduct the Four Seasons Orchestra in Austria for their performance at the 2009 Haydn Festival. By January 2018, Carolyn conducted a Mozart, Chopin, and Friends concert for the Four Seasons Orchestra with five solo artists. Over the years, the Four Seasons Orchestra was nominated for various Grammy categories and the Arizona Governor’s Arts Awards. The group was given official Historical Centennial Legacy Project status for their "Arizona Profiles" CD of Louise Kerr's chamber music, which is in the Arizona time capsule to be opened in 2112 at the State’s bi-centennial in 2012. During this time, Carolyn auditioned as a violist for the new Scottsdale Philharmonic, becoming their Principal Violist and a founding member.

"I am in the legacy part of my life where I am making videos of teaching techniques, writing books, and journal articles on music."

Dr. Carolyn Waters Broe is the author of Fifty Famous Composers for Kids of All Ages, a collection of biographies of twenty-five famous male and twenty-five famous female composers. The book won the Mom's Choice Gold Award for 2021 and two Finalist Awards for the International Book Awards in 2022 in General History and Performing Arts. As if this doesn't keep Carolyn busy enough, she maintains an active teaching schedule with your student musicians across the valley. Carolyn says, "I am in the legacy part of my life where I am making videos of teaching techniques, writing books, and journal articles on music." She also discovered YouTube's power to make her years of wisdom and experience assessable to the next generation. She states, "One of my next projects is to write a few more grants to fund the Four Seasons Orchestra for a concert featuring the music of French/African Classical Composer Joseph Bologna Chevalier de Saint Georges." Dr. Carolyn Waters Broe has no intention of slowing down; the beat goes on; she is determined to continue sharing it with as many music lovers as possible.


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