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Meet Verena Mösenbichler-Bryant

Meet Verena Mösenbichler-Bryant

Austrian native conducts the Duke University Wind Symphony

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Verena Mösenbichler-Bryant conducting
Verena Mösenbichler-Bryant conducts the Duke University Wind Symphony. Photo courtesy of Verena Mosenbichler-Bryant.

Durham, NC - Name: Verena Mosenbichler-Bryant
Position: Visiting assistant professor of the practice of music
Years at Duke: 2

What I do at Duke is: I conduct the Duke University Wind Symphony and teach different music courses each semester for any Duke student. One of the courses I've taught was a music appreciation course and recently I've taught courses on wind literature and wind chamber literature.

If someone wanted to start a conversation with me, they should ask me about: Music. I also love talking about living composers. There are several I really like and it's a bit of a very a long list. They could also ask me about Battlestar Galactica. I've watched the whole TV series and I just love it.

If I had $5 million, I would: Start a scholarship fund for young conductors, invest a whole bunch, buy a new car and probably build a house in Austria. My family is from Austria, and I grew up there. I go back a lot, so it'd be nice to have a place for my husband and me when we go back.

My first ever job was: I worked in a school to be a kindergarten teacher. It was a five-year program from when I was 14 to 18 and had to teach in kindergarten once a week for three years. I actually didn't get paid for it, though.

My dream job is: What I'm doing right now - making music every day and conducting. That's what I love to do. Duke's music program looked really interesting to me, and I was fortunate to get a job here. There are a lot of conductors out there looking for jobs, and Duke is a wonderful place to work

The best advice I ever received was: Ray E. Cramer -a former professor at Indiana University School of Music and a family friend - asked me in the summer of 2001, `Why don't you come to study in the U.S.?' It sounded intriguing to me. He told me about the possibilities here, so I took a chance and thought why not try it. I went to Michigan State University for my master's degree and the University of Texas at Austin for my doctorate in conducting.

When I'm not at work, I like to: I like cooking, I like to take dance lessons, I love taking pictures with my husband's camera, and I like to beat my husband at board games

Something most people don't know about me is: I'm a little embarrassed to say it now, but when I was a kid, I really liked David Hasselhoff, but not anymore. He was often on TV in Austria, and my grandparents would always watch him. I watched him and listened to this music, so my parents bought me a couple of his CDs.

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