Katherine H.  Palmer, DMA

Curator of Education, Musical Instrument Museum

Gretsch Fellow in Children's Music, Fred Rogers Center

Executive Director, Daraja Music Initiative

Faculty Associate, Arizona State University

Clarinetist, Mill Ave Chamber Players



Ethnomusicologist. Music Educator. Museum Curator. Clarinetist.

Katherine Palmer enjoys a multifaceted musical career as a music educator, arts administrator, and performing musician.

Katherine is the curator of education at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix (AZ), where she is in charge of developing and teaching interdisciplinary, ethnomusicological content. Working with diverse learners from early childhood to older adults, Katherine has been instrumental in molding MIM’s educational approach and overseeing programming content related to MIMkids classes, field trips, professional development, volunteer docent training, and creative aging sessions. As an educator, Katherine also serves as a Faculty Associate in the Herberger Institute of Design and the Arts at Arizona State University and adjunct instructor at Paradise Valley Community College.

Passionate about early childhood and world music, she is currently the Gretsch Fellow in Children's Music at the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children's Media at St. Vincent College where she is investigating how diverse music making and listening can promote empathy and cultural awareness.

Katherine is the executive director of Daraja Music Initiative (DMI), a non-profit organization – registered 501©3 and international NGO – that provides music and environmental conservation education in the Kilimanjaro Region of Tanzania during the summer months to primary and secondary students. Aiming to bridge the arts and sciences, DMI promotes sustainability of African Blackwood trees from which clarinets – and other instruments – are constructed.

Additionally, Katherine performs with the Mill Ave Chamber Players, a Phoenix-based woodwind quintet, and has appeared with a variety of musical groups throughout Phoenix and Arizona, including Arizona Musicfest, the Phoenix Symphony, and the Phoenix Theatre Company. In addition to frequent national and regional appearances, Katherine has also presented papers, workshops, and performances at international conferences for the College Music Society, the Society for Ethnomusicology, the International Clarinet Association’s annual ClarinetFests, and the International Society for Music Education.

Katherine holds degrees from the University of Miami (BM) and Arizona State University (MM, MA, and DMA) in music performance (clarinet) and ethnomusicology.

"I'm passionate about joyful music making." - Katherine Palmer


Passions & Projects


Connecting people of all ages with world music cultures