Brenda Brenner is the Eugene O’Brien Bicentennial Executive Associate Dean. Brenner serves as co-director of the IU String Academy, a position she has held since 1993. The String Academy students have been featured in concerts in major venues throughout the U.S. and have presented concerts in Europe, Asia and South America.
Her specialty is string music education, teaching applied violin and courses in violin and string pedagogy. She founded the IU student chapter of the American String Teachers Association in 2006; she serves as the chapter's faculty advisor and was previously president of the association. Brenner is also director of the Fairview Violin Project, which she began in 2008 to provide violin instruction to underserved elementary school students.
Brenner's research delves into the cognitive, academic and social outcomes of early instrumental music instruction. This university-community partnership has far-reaching impacts, providing field experience for both music education and performance students who participate in the teaching. Under Brenner's mentorship, many of them leave the experience with the training and desire to begin their own partnerships with underserved communities.
As department chair, Brenner has brought national and international prestige to the department and the Jacobs School of Music. She has made significant contributions to the department and school, and to the national and international music education communities. She has initiated discussion and revision of curriculum, audition requirements and exam procedures that result in an overall improved protocol for recruiting, preparing and retaining students.
Brenner performs chamber music throughout the U.S., partnering with pianist Kenneth Huber and her husband, organist Christopher Young. She teaches and conducts at the IU Summer String Academy and serves as assistant director of the IU Retreat for Professional Violinists and Violists. In addition, Brenner is an active, international clinician appearing in numerous conferences throughout the U.S.
In 2020, Brenner was presented the Mary Burgan Distinguished Service Award.