Justin Brauer is a theatre music director and theatre educator, currently based out of Central Illinois. He plays keyboards and sings backup vocals in Whiskey Shadows, currently working on their debut EP, and has also appeared with the Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra and R&B artist Kvn Tajzea. Justin serves on the Board of Directors of the D.O.S.E. Foundation, providing theatrical opportunities to under-served students in the Champaign-Urbana area. From 2012 to 2014, Justin founded and served on the Executive Board of Illini Student Musicals, a 501(c)3 corporation devoted to the performance of musical theatre on the UIUC campus. When not in the rehearsal studio, Justin works in Strategic Engagement for the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement at the University of Illinois.
Justin holds an MM in Musicology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where his research focused on American musical theatre and black music. He also received a BME in Choral Music Education with a concentration in Voice from UIUC. He studied voice with Dawn Harris, conducting with Andrea Solya, and music education with Bridget Sweet, and has sung in choirs under the direction of Kristina Boerger, Fred Stoltzfus, Barrington Coleman, Joe Grant, and Richard Robert Rossi. He also holds the title of Drum Major First Class in Mace from Smith Walbridge Clinics.
While at UIUC, Justin co-taught and co-developed the curriculum for THEA 110, Broadway Musicals in U.S. Culture, a cultural survey of the American musical through historical and critical placement of works as a reflection and development of the identity of the United States. Justin also served as a Production Assistant in the Events office at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, where he had the privilege of working with artists such as Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Kronos Quartet, Julian Lage and Chris Eldridge, Marc Ribot, and Cameron Carpenter.
An active music director, vocal coach, and accompanist in the Champaign-Urbana and Chicagoland areas, Justin's career spans a decade, including work with Music Theatre International, the UIUC Department of Theatre (Acting studio Music Director, 2015-2017,) Parkland College (visiting theatre artist, 2016-2017,) Urbana, Barrington, St. Thomas More, and Mundelein High Schools, the Champaign and Urbana Park Districts, Illinois High School Theatre Festival, Illinois Summer Youth Music, Station Theatre, and the Champaign Urbana Theatre Company, among others.
Justin is a member of the American Federation of Musicians Local 301.