Karen Basrak joined the Chicago Symphony Orchestra cello section in 2012.
A native of Arlington Heights, Illinois, Basrak began her studies with Adele O'Dwyer, Gilda Barston and Richard Hirschl. She received her Bachelor of Music in cello performance at the University of Southern California (USC), where she studied with Eleonore Schoenfeld. While studying at USC she received numerous awards, most notably the Gregor Piatigorsky Award.
Before moving back to Illinois, Basrak was a member of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra as associate principal cello beginning in 2001, served as acting principal cello from 2002-05 and was principal cello from 2005-2012.
Basrak has performed extensively throughout the U.S. and Europe. She has appeared with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Northwest Symphony Orchestra, Harper Symphony Orchestra, Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Winnetka Chamber Orchestra, Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra, Skokie Valley Symphony Orchestra, Greenville Symphony Orchestra, Westchester/Marin Del Ray Orchestra and American Youth Symphony. As an advocate of music education, she has performed in schools throughout the country; in recognition for her efforts she was awarded the key to the City of Greenville, South Carolina. Basrak is on the faculty of the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University.