About Us

Pacific Strings is comprised of four friends dedicated to sharing their love of great chamber music with people of all ages. Karen Lindblom and Mary Bormann founded the group in 2000, and DalRae Murray and Kjell Stenberg are the group's more recent additions. Members of the quartet have toured internationally, performing with orchestras in such venues as Carnegie Hall and the Sydney Opera House.

Pacific Strings performs primarily up and down the Bay Area peninsula, but the group has traveled as far north as Napa and as far south as Half Moon Bay. In addition to playing at numerous weddings and private events, they have performed in corporate settings, at higher education institutions, and for religious services. Members of the quartet are committed to sharing their love of music with young children, as evidenced by their participation in student group recitals.

In addition to performing professionally, the group enjoys getting together on a regular basis to sightread chamber music, drink wine, entertain friends, and laugh.

Karen Lindblom

Karen Lindblom began playing the violin at the age of three. She studied with private instructors all through grade school (Marian Weaver), high school (Clarice Horelick), and college (Ruxandra Simionescu). Karen joined her first orchestra, the Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra, when she was in high school. In 1992, the group traveled to Spain for a two-week tour, performing in Madrid, Cuenca, and Valencia. It was also during this time that she was introduced to chamber music and began to play in various string quartets.

In college, Karen joined the Syracuse University Symphony Orchestra and played in a variety of quartets, performance recitals, and musical productions during her four years in New York.

Upon graduating from college and returning to the Bay Area, Karen has continued her violin performance with a number of community groups, including the Nova Vista Symphony, the Mission Chamber Orchestra, the Mission City Opera, and Lyric Theatre. She joined the Stanford Symphony Orchestra and traveled on tour to Italy with the group in 1999. Karen was asked to join the San Francisco-based Da Capo Chorale in 2001 for a two-week tour to Salzburg and Vienna, Austria, and, in 2002, Karen went on her fourth international tour, again with the Stanford Symphony Orchestra. A performance at New York City’s Carnegie Hall was followed by concerts in London, Oxford, and Paris. Most recently, Karen went on a Sister City Friendship Tour to the Azore Islands in Portugal with a Suzuki violin group from Gilroy.

In addition to playing classical music, including her role in Pacific Strings, Karen was the fiddler in a South Bay-based Irish band named Celtic Soul, performing at pubs and bars in the area. She currently plays in a rock band, as well as a Cajun band (the Gators). Karen resides in San Jose and works in Menlo Park at a nonprofit foundation.

DalRae Murray

DalRae Murray has been playing violin and piano since the ages of four and five, respectively. Growing up in Palo Alto, she was a member of the Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra for many years, which included concert trips to Spain and the Ashland Shakespeare Festival.

DalRae received her B.A. in Music Theory and Composition in 1997 from Goucher College in Maryland, studying piano with Lisa Weiss and violin with Ronald Mutchnik. She also participated in the Goucher Symphony Orchestra, Goucher Chamber Music ensembles, and participated in masterclasses featuring guest artists. She studied computer music with Geoffrey Wright, producing two original compositions for computer and live musicians, and had the opportunity to page turn for Leon Fleisher. Her music theory teacher for the first two years was Dr. Robert Hall Lewis before he passed.

She has been a member of the Redwood Symphony since 1998, went on tour with the Stanford Symphony Orchestra in 2002, and traveled to Italy with the Mission Chamber Orchestra in 2003. Her violin teachers have included Clarice Horelick, Roy Malan, Jenny Rudin, Ronald Mutchnik, and Janice McIntosh.

Mary Bormann

Originally hailing from Rochester, Michigan, Mary Bormann started playing violin at age three. She studied Suzuki method lessons privately through high school with Roxanne Oliver. Mary was a member of the Metropolitan Youth Symphony, a group which included students from the metropolitan Detroit area and Canada. Mary was a member of all three levels of the orchestra program and, during her senior year, was concertmistress of the advanced symphony level. Through the orchestra, Mary met a group of friends with whom she formed a quartet, the Somerset Strings, which was together for more than six years.

Mary attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and earned a BA degree in History. While at the university, Mary was a member of the university orchestra and continued to play regularly with the Somerset Strings. She joined a local rock band, Caelum Bliss, with whom she recorded her first CD. Mary also began teaching violin during summers and found that to be her passion. Upon graduating, Mary took a job teaching at the Rochester Conservatory of Music and then moved on to teach at Suzuki Royal Oak, where she began teaching viola as well.

Mary moved to California in the summer of 2000, where she started her own violin program, Silicon Valley Suzuki Violin. (www.svsv.org) She joined the Mission Chamber Orchestra where she met Karen Lindblom. Mary and Karen started to play together and, along with DalRae and Hector, traveled to Europe with the Stanford Symphony Orchestra in the summer of 2002. They were thrilled to perform at Carnegie Hall on the same tour. Mary currently teaches a program of over forty violin and viola students and resides in San Jose with her husband, David and dog, Maddie.

Kjell Stenberg

Kjell started playing cello at the age of 9 in Rochester, MN, and has performed extensively since.

His orchestral career began when he joined the Southeastern Minnesota Youth Orchestra (www.semyo.org) in 8th grade. During his tenure, he played principal cello in both the Philharmonic and Concert Orchestras, and soloed on the first movements of the Goltermann and Haydn C cello concertos having won the respective 1990 and 1993 Concerto Competitions. He attended the 1988 3rd National Cello Congress in Tempe, AZ, as a part of a Suzuki cello method demonstration. In 1992, he co-founded the Jazzmin String Quartet and performed regularly in Southern Minnesota.

While attending St. Olaf College (www.stolaf.edu), he studied music with David Carter, Anna Clift, and Charles Gray; played in the St. Olaf Orchestra from 1994-1998, went on the 1998 Central European Tour, and participated in the televised 1998 "St. Olaf Christmas Festival"; went on two tours to Florida with the St. Olaf String Quartet; and accompanied the St. Olaf Choir on their 1999 tour of Southern United States. Additionally, from 1995 to 1998, Kjell co-founded the male a capella ensemble "Cantus" (www.cantusonline.org), produced three recordings, and sang throughout the Eastern United States on the group's first national tour. Both before and after St. Olaf, he also played with the Rochester Orchestra and Chorale (www.roandc.org) during the 1993-1994 and 1998-2002 seasons. In 2004 he moved to California and, a few years later, played the Elgar Cello Concerto with the Winchester Orchestra in May 2008.

He has a Bachelors degree from St. Olaf in Biology and Management Studies, and holds a Masters Degree in Human Resources and Industrial Relations from the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management.