Courtney Hanna-McNamara began her Suzuki violin studies at age 5 and her traditional piano studies at age 6 and grew up performing with a variety of ensembles around Minneapolis, MN including serving as concertmaster of the Symphony Orchestra of the Minnesota Youth Symphonies. Courtney studied violin performance at Lawrence University under Georgios Demertzis and Stéphane Trần Ngọc and served as second violin principal and assistant concertmaster of the Lawrence Orchestra as well as concertmaster of the Lawrence Opera Orchestra. Along with studying music, Courtney earned a degree in English and secondary education. Since 2003, she has worked as a classroom teacher and interventionist for grades K through 12 in schools across Illinois, Wisconsin, and Colorado. She has also served as an instructional coach for educators across a variety of disciplines and grade levels.
Courtney teaches in the Suzuki Strings program of the NIU Community School of the Arts under the direction of Ann Montzka Smelser. She has performed as a first violinist with the Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra since 2016 and also serves as the KSO general manager, a position she has held since 2022. She and her husband, KSO bassoonist Jason Hanna, live in DeKalb where they are raising their two children, both of whom study music.