Karen studied music at Bath University, Welsh College of Music and Drama and Guildhall School of Music. She is now a freelance musician and composer and her wide-ranging skills (accordion/saxophone/clarinet) keeps her in demand for a broad range of projectsencompassing classical, contemporary and jazz.
On the UK jazz scene Karen has created a niche for herself. She was a regular member of Mike Westbrook’s groups and played with Tim Garland as part of Lammas. Other credits include Martin Taylor, Maria Schneider, Phil Robson Octet, Steve Arguelles, Tina May andNikki Iles.
Karen’s debut CD for solo accordion of original compositions “Finally a beginning” was released 2001 and received great reviews. Her reputation as a jazz accordionist and composer was firmly establishes with ‘Accordion Crimes’ her second CD. Joining her on this albumis Stan Sulzmann, Fred T Baker and Mike Outram. Karen’s third CD ‘Another Story’ was released in November 2008 and features Fred Baker on guitar, Sara Colman on voice and Andrew Tween on percussion. She has a new band called Streetworks with Mike Outram,guitar, Will Harris, bass and Andy Tweed on saxophone.
Other performing credits are:
Ute Lemper, Sir Willard White, Royal Shakespeare Company, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, The Nash Ensemble, Ice Breaker, Opera North, BBC Philharmonic, the RPO, the LSO, the Matrix Ensemble, Ballet Rambert, Glyndbourne Opera, Royal Opera House, Grace Jones, Andrea Bocelli, Strictly Come Dancing tour.
As a saxophone player she was a member of the all girl saxophone quartet ‘The Fairer Sax’ who appeared on television and radio and at festivals all over the world. Subsequently she joined Saxtet a saxophone quintet playing the original compositions and arrangements ofthe players.
Karen regularly composes for saxophone from solo pieces to saxophone choirs. She is published published by Boosey & Hawkes, June Emerson and Saxtet Publications and her pieces often appear on exam syllabuses in the UK.
Her arrangement of ‘When a Knight won his spurs’ for saxophone quartet was chosen to by the Fondazione Adkins Chiti to be played in various venues in Italy. In 2001 she started writing for accordion her main instrument and produced an CD of original compositions.Her composition for solo accordion “In the Ballroom with the Rope” took first prize at the London Accordion Festival, Composition Competition, 2001. She started writing for brass when her children took up the trombone and french horn and has written many arrangements for different brass ensembles.