About Us

In 2012, Duo F.A.E. was co-founded by violinist Charlene Kluegel and pianist Katherine Petersen who had become close friends, having met at the Aspen Music Festival several years prior. The duo takes its name from the motto of virtuoso violinist Joseph Joachim and composer Johannes Brahms “Frei Aber Einsam” meaning “Free but Alone.” (shown on the left) The duo brought new meaning to this motto, doing all of their rehearsing and concertizing while living in Canada and the U.S. respectively at the inception of the ensemble. Duo F.A.E. has performed extensively across Canada and the U.S. and their combined forces as a duo have been described as being filled with “virtuosity and maturity” (Hill and Hollow Music.) The duo seeks to present concerts that feature chamber music in its rawest form by joining two voices into one.

Charlene Kluegel, Violin

Hailed for her “unsentimental verve, musical feeling and great technical skill” (New York Classical Review), violinist Charlene Kluegel is known for her versatile artistry that transcends the traditional boundaries of Classical music genres.    A chamber musician and soloist “with aplomb” (Chicago Classical Review) on modern and Baroque violin, her engagements have taken her to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Tonhalle Zurich, the Banff Centre, Chicago Symphony Hall, Orchestra Hall Detroit, the Ravinia Festival, and the Music Center at Strathmore.  She has collaborated with members of the Chicago Lyric Opera, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and the New York Philharmonic, Cuarteto Casals, Third Coast Percussion, members of Brentano Quartet, Jason Vieaux, Robert McDuffie, and the Music of the Baroque, Washington Bach Consort, Elizabeth Fields, Cynthia Roberts, and Dorian Bandy. As a featured soloist she has appeared under the baton of Gemma New, Lee Mills, Kemal Akçag, and with the Baltimore Baroque Band and Cornell Symphony Orchestra.   

As the violinist and co-founder of Duo FAE, she tirelessly promotes the sonata repertoire as the most intimate expression of chamber music. Dedicated to the performance of new music, she has premiered works by Dan Visconti, Julia Adolphe, Stacy Garrop, Steven Snowdon, Xi Wang, Osamu Katsuki, and Austin Wintory, and has upcoming commissions by composers including Iranian-American composer Sepehr Pirasteh. Formerly the violinist of acclaimed Fifth House Ensemble, she has recorded on Cedille and Dynamic Catholic labels and has appeared regularly on radio broadcasts. Always curious to expand her musical horizons, Ms. Kluegel collaborated on Patois’s explorative CD of Latin Jazz “Canto America” which was nominated for a GRAMMY – Best Latin Jazz Album in 2016.   

Charlene Kluegel’s commitment to the advancement of emerging artists has taken her to education residencies and masterclasses at the Eastman School of Music, Northwestern University, the University of Texas at Austin, Bowling Green State University, Roosevelt University, and Lawrence University. Her primary research is in the practical intersection between pedagogy and performance practice and has published a pedagogical handbook on style and tempo considerations in orchestral violin excerpts. She continues her dedication to research through her tenure on the Editorial Board of the American String Teacher Journal. She has previously taught at the Peabody Institute of Music and Fresh Inc Festival and currently serves on faculty at the Music Institute of Chicago.   

Prior to graduating from Cornell University, Ms. Kluegel studied at the Hochschule der Künste Bern, Switzerland. She holds a Masters of Music and Graduate Performance Diploma from the Peabody Institute of Music and, as a recipient of the Indiana University Artistic Excellence Award she received her Doctor of Music from Indiana University. She studied under Pamela Frank, Jorja Fleezanis, Susan Waterbury, Stanley Ritchie, and Monika Urbaniak-Lisik. ​ Charlene Kluegel is honored to receive string sponsorship from Larsen Strings A/S.

Katherine Petersen, Piano

From giving her debut solo recital of a mostly Chopin program at the age of twelve to performing some of George Crumb’s most monumental chamber and solo works at the Crumb Festival, a 90th birthday celebration of the famed composer, Petersen embraces the wide array of repertoire available to pianists. Her performances as soloist and chamber musician have been described as having “captured the sense of wonder” (Chicago Tribune), and are equally matched with “great technical skill” (New York Classical Review.)

Petersen’s performances as chamber musician and soloist have taken her to Ravinia’s Bennett Gordon Hall, the Maison Symphonique in Montreal, Quebec, the Grand Teton Music Festival, Empire Saal at Esterhazy Palace in Eisenstadt, Austria, and Boston’s historic Jordan Hall. At the age of seventeen, she made her Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall debut, a performance which was described by Edith Eisler of Strings Magazine as “real music-making–concentrated and deeply felt.” She has also collaborated with musicians of the Chicago Lyric Opera Orchestra, members of the Gaudete Quintet, Jason Vieaux, and Charles Castleman.

Petersen has nurtured a strong career in chamber music. She believes in the ability of chamber music to foster more meaningful performances in the way that it reflects the intricacies of human interaction, and the subtle art of listening. This aspect of conversation is most present in duo playing, which inspired Petersen to co-found Duo FAE with long-time friend and violinist Charlene Kluegel back in 2013. The duo takes its name from the motto of famous violinist Joseph Joachim: “Frei Aber Einsam” meaning “Free but Alone.” This expression epitomizes the relationship between piano and violin as two equally soloistic instruments whose unique voices are amplified when joined together. Through this collaboration, the duo seeks to present chamber music in its most intimate form.

In addition to her performances with Duo FAE, Petersen has also served as core pianist for the chamber group Fifth House Ensemble. Also active as a collaborative pianist, she has been a staff collaborative pianist at the Bowdoin International Music Festival, the Killington Music Festival, and she was a competition pianist for the Orchestra Symphonique de Montreal’s Standard Life Competition.  ​ In addition to a busy performing schedule, Petersen actively educates the next generation of young performers. Appearances as guest artist have led her to give masterclasses and presentations at institutions such as Illinois State University, Florida Atlantic University, the Eastman School of Music, the Curtis Institute of Music, and the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy. She has previously taught at the Schulich School of Music of McGill University, the Conservatory of Music at McGill University, and the Fresh Inc Festival. Currently she is on faculty at the Music Institute of Chicago and the Chicago High School for the Arts. She also directs an annual competition for young musicians as the Artistic Director for the Society of American Musicians—a nearly century old organization founded by members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, seeking to advance performance opportunities for young musicians through its competitions.  ​

Petersen completed her early musical training at the Walnut Hill School for the Arts, her Bachelor of Music degree at the New England Conservatory of Music, and her Master and Doctor of Music degrees at the Schulich School of Music of McGill University. Her principal teachers were Jonathan Bass, Vivian Weilerstein, Stephane Lemelin, and Sara Laimon. 

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