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Kira Louise Braun was born in Toronto to parents Eleanor Louise Braun Lawrie (Flute) and William Richard Braun (Baritone 1939-2009), of the well-known singing Braun family. Her father, a comic actor and frequent comprimario, appeared in many COC productions both at home in Toronto and on tour. Kira is also inspired greatly by the artistry and careers of Victor, (1935-2001), Eraine, Adi, and Russell. Starting out as a soloist late in life, she is now realizing her dreams in more ways than she could ever have imagined.
The CCOC was where it all started, a professional children’s choir, in which Kira was a part of the 1975 production of "I Pagliacci" with the Canadian Opera Company.
Her Choral background is steeped in Church Music, from Trinity United Church Choir (Lloyd Bradshaw, Toronto) to The Ridley Singers (Michael Tansley, St. Catharines), St Thomas Anglican Church Choir (David Marsden, St Catharines), Knox Presbyterian Church Choir (Ken Hutton, St Catharines), and more recently, 5 years in The Orpheus Choir of Toronto under the brilliant baton of Robert Cooper.
A high school vocal music class with the wonderful Theresa (Monaghan) Pothier was a terrific learning ground, with two great opportunities to lead our Musicals as Yum-Yum in the Mikado and Nellie in South Pacific.
From there Kira also participated with Garden City Productions, in "Ragtime to Riches" and "Gershwin First Person" with Tom Inglis and Ross Inglis on duelling pianos. These two shows were choreographed by the fantastic Diane Nyland-Proctor.
2013 found Kira preparing for her first operatic lead role, as Frasquita in Toronto City Opera's February 2014 production of Carmen ~ it was a dream come true!
In subsequent Opera roles, Kira has performed as Oscar in Un Ballo in Maschera with Opera by Request, the role of Barbarina in Le Nozze di Figaro, with Toronto Summer Opera Workshop, as well as the role of La Suora Infermiera in Suor Angelica, with Oshawa Opera. In 2016 she was thrilled to make her first appearance with a full orchestra, with Tryptych Opera and Cathedral Bluffs Symphony Orchestra for their fully staged production of Gianni Schicchi, in which she sang the role of Nella. 2017 hailed two more returns to Tryptych and Cathedral Bluffs, where she sang the role of La Suora Infermiera again in Suor Angelica, and then was featured in their production of Hansel & Gretel as the Dew Fairy and the Sandman.
A lucky event re-introduced her to Peter Krochak, a fantastic pianist who also studied voice with Mrs. Pothier. The two were destined to work together and since 2014 have released 7 CD's. Their first endeavor, 'Beautiful Memories', a rendition of Maurice Ravel's "5 Greek Folksongs", sung in Greek, was followed quickly by 'Exult, Rejoice!' featuring Mozart's "Exsultate, Jubilate" and 5 selections of Schubert Lieder, including the famous "Gretchen am Spinnrade", both done in 2014. In 2015, they were pleased to release (and perform) another CD entitled 'Of Love and Nature', a compilation of Art Songs by Faure, Rachmaninoff, and Schubert, this time featuring "The Shepherd on the Rock", along with Carlos Melendez on Clarinet. In 2017, the duo released 2 more CD's: "The Echoing Air" in March, and "Eastern Breezes, Western Winds" in October Of 2017. By November of 2018, “Damask Roses” was released, with art songs by Mozart, Dvorak, and Quilter, with accolades from WholeNote Magazine.
In November of 2014 Kira sang her debut as a soloist in two Cantatas, appearing with Choralis Camerata, led by Conductor David Braun, in St. Catharines. The works, fittingly chosen for St. Cecilia's Day, were Britten's 'A Ceremony of Carols' and Bach's 'Wachet Auf'. She has since returned to Choralis Camerata, in December of 2016, as Soprano Soloist for John Rutter’s Gloria, Charpentier’s “Messe de Minuit” and was featured singing Mozart’s “Alleluia” with string quartet. Her first appearance as Soprano Soloist in a presentation of Handel’s Messiah was with Musikay under the baton of Stephane Potvin. In 2018, she returned to Choralis Camerata to sing highlights from Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, including the duet “Flosst Mein Heiland”, and is delighted to be on the roster again in March of 2019 for Choralis’s Mass in G by Schubert and Vivaldi’s Gloria.
She has also appeared numerous times as a Guest Soloist with the Columbus Concert Band, with conductors Livio Leonardelli and Maestra Annamaria Mazzafero, as well as an appearance with Men of Note Choir under the direction of Maestra Oksana Vignan. Kira is active in the Church ”Subbing” community, wherein if she is called upon with a moment’s notice, will fill in for a soloist or section lead.
In the summer of 2016 Kira visited Busseto, Italy with Operavision Academy and had an opportunity to sing for Maestro Richard Bonynge. It was a wonderful experience and made her thirsty to learn more... as a result, in 2017 she applied and was accepted into York University's Music Program and is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Music!
In second year of University, Kira decided to broaden her horizons by switching over to the Jazz Stream, a whole new world of technique and nuance. Learning this style has been liberating, enlightening, and exciting. She debuted her first Jazz performance at 120 Diner in May of 2019.
In February of 2019, Kira recorded an EP of Andre Previn's works, Four Songs and Vocalise, entitled MOSAIC with cellist Kirk Starkey and pianist Linda Ippolito. The CD was released digitally worldwide on the Centaur Records Label in December of 2019.
2019 hailed as the year she would make her debut at Roy Thomson Hall, as Guest Soloist for Christmas with the Salvation Army. Kira was thrilled to be the headliner for this fantastic Christmas event, with their 250 voice Festival Chorus led by Len Ballantine, and the Canadian Staff Band. Sharing the conductor's stand with Len was John Lam. Joined by Ian Sadler on organ, Kira sang Rejoice Greatly O Daughter of Zion, and with Duncan Hopkins and his Jazz quartet, Kira sang a couple of jazz pieces which were arranged by Duncan. It was a wonderful success!
2020/2021... the years the stages went dark for so many. Kira kept busy with her musical colleague Peter Krochak once again, and together they released the CD "On the Wings of Song", featuring works by Mendelssohn, Poulenc, and Obradors, again receiving critical acclaim from The WholeNote Magazine. In addition to this Kira's activities included many home recordings and YouTube releases of repertoire she has always wanted to sing, including Strauss's "Vier Letzte Lieder", sung to a digital accompaniment track created by Uli Schauerte, in Cologne, Germany. The icing on the cake, though, was to graduate from York University with a Bachelor of Arts in Music, completing her Degree with Distinction, and on the Dean's Honour Roll.
Up next!? A recording of Srul Irving Glick's "7 Tableaux from the Song of Songs", with pianist Brahm Goldhamer, Violinist Leslie Dawn Knowles, and Cellist Igor Gefter!
Some notable Links and Interviews along the way: