Karen grew up in a suburb of St. Louis, Missouri where she studied violin with Herbert Vandenburg, principal viola with the St. Louis Symphony. She later received a Bachelor and a Master’s degree in Violin Performance from Southern Illinois University, but was undecided about what to do next.
A year after she got married, her husband Richard (a grad student in math, now a violist with the WSO), much to everyone’s surprise, changed his major to music. When he decided, in 1974, to audition for the WSO, she auditioned with him. This concert is the second she and her husband have played with the WSO in Carnegie Hall and their daughter, who, as a baby, accompanied them on that first trip to New York, is now also in the orchestra.
Karen has had the opportunity to play under the direction of WSO music directors Pierro Gamba, Kazahiro Koizumi, Bramwell Tovey, Andrey Boreyko and Alexander Mickelthwate as well as many other memorable guest conductors including Kirill Kondrashin, Joseph Silverstein, Stanislaw Skrowaczewski and Charles Dutoit.