Photo by Jeff Hobson

As early as eighth grade, Karina Bharne knew there was magic in music. 

“I always thought there was something unique in the way you could express yourself through music,” Bharne said. At the time, Bharne expressed herself by playing trombone. Today, she helps other musicians — and music lovers — express themselves in her role as executive director of Symphony Tacoma. 

Bharne graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with an undergraduate degree in trombone performance and then a master’s in arts management. With that, she first worked for the Pittsburgh Symphony, later moving to Texas to take a position as San Antonio Symphony’s director of orchestra personnel. 

From 2014 to 2017, Bharne rose through the ranks and served as that symphony’s vice president and general manager, eventually becoming interim executive director. 

While in San Antonio, she met her husband, Ilan Morganstern, who played in the San Antonio orchestra. He recently had taken a job as a bass trombone player for the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra — which initiated the couple’s move to the Pacific Northwest. Now, despite having jobs on different sides of an international border, the couple is able to spend several days a week together.

As Symphony Tacoma’s executive director, Bharne spends much of her time in the local business community advocating for the arts. 

“Art boosts economies in more ways than one,” Bharne said. “Businesses need to think about what they are providing for the community. We are teaching in low-income schools. We are helping kids learn to love music. It’s a shared experience with everyone.”

Photos courtesy Karina Bharne


7 a.m. | Once I’m out of bed, I make myself a Vega Protein Smoothie with some frozen fruit.


7:15 a.m. | I’m a runner, and there are always one or two races each year that I train for. In the mornings, I will either run or lift weights.


8:15 a.m. | I actually make dinner in the morning. My father is from India, and my husband from Israel, so I am always trying new recipes. Today, I made a paneer curry that will sit in the fridge until I’m back from work.


10 a.m. | I sit down for a video interview at KBTC-TV to discuss our education programs.


11 a.m. | I meet daily with our patron services manager, Lydia Robinson, regarding our ticket sales. We track and monitor all of our postcards, e-blasts, and social media to see what is most effective.


Noon | At lunch, I will often play in the lobby of MultiCare or at the Mary Bridge Outpatient Center lobby.


2 p.m. | Next, I head over to Corina Bakery for a coffee meeting with potential symphony partners.


3 p.m. | Back at the office, some staff members and I discuss our upcoming performance to solidify logistics.


5:30 p.m. | My husband and I go out for a walk after work. We like walking around Ruston or in one of Tacoma’s parks.


10 p.m. | The part of the day that I most look forward to is cuddling with my cat, Peach.