Karen Basrak joined the cello section of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 2012. A native of Arlington Heights, Illinois, Basrak began her studies with AdeleO’Dwyer, Gilda Barston and Richard Hirschl. She received a Bachelor of Music degree in cello performance from the University of Southern California, where she studied with Eleonore Schoenfeld. While at USC, Basrak received several honors, most notably the Gregor Piatigorsky Award. Before returning to Illinois, Basrak was a member of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, beginning in 2001 as associate principal cello; she served as acting principal from 2002 to 2005 and principal from 2005 to 2012. Basrak has performed extensively throughout the United States and Europe, and has appeared with the Los Angeles Philharmonic; the Northwest, Harper, Kishwaukee, Elmhurst, Skokie Valley and Greenville symphony orchestras, Winnetka Chamber Orchestra, Marina del Rey–Westchester Symphony and American Youth Symphony. As an advocate of music education, she has performed in schools throughout the nation. In recognition of 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.