I was invited to join the
CYSO cello section for this
KAREN SCHULZ-HARMON, is an avid chamber musician, orchestral player and teacher. She enjoys recording and collaborating with various instrumentalists as well as performing all types of music. In June of 2015, she moved across country from Chicago to Portland where she is starting afresh with her musical pursuits. In September of 2016, Karen won Symphony Tacoma's Assistant Principal Cello position. She also performs with the Portland Cello Project and Portland Concert Opera, and is a substitute player with the Oregon Symphony and Portland Opera cello sections. Karen teaches at the BRAVO Youth Orchestras program and privately from her home studio in Portland’s Montavilla neighborhood. This past summer she was invited to, and had the pleasure of, teaching at the Chamber Music Camp of Portland.
Karen attended Northern Illinois University at the invitation of cellist Marc Johnson and was privileged to work with all the members of the Vermeer String Quartet. She graduated in 2005 with a Masters of Music degree in Cello Performance. Karen performs with an 1840 cello by Jacob Fendt and a ca1900 bow by André Vigneron.
While in Chicago, Karen performed with the Chicago Philharmonic, Chicago Bach Ensemble, Chicago Opera Theater and the Chicago Trio. Karen was a member of the faculty at the Chicago Academy for the Arts (CAA) for eight years where she taught private cello, music theory, piano lab, tutored instrumentalists and coached chamber music. She also coached chamber music for over ten years for the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras Program.
Karen spent two months in Europe over several years (2010-11), which included observing the teaching (approximately 40 hours) of Robert Nagy, a principal cellist of the Vienna Philharmonic. During this time she also had the opportunity to interact with the private teachers and chamber music coaches at the Südsteirische Musiktage Festival in Austria founded by Wolfgang Klos, violist in the Vienna String Trio.
In the summer of 2012 Karen was selected to attend the National Summer Cello Institute. While there she had the privilege to work with cellists Richard Aaron, Timothy Eddy, Ralph Kirshbaum and Uri Vardi. She also participated in an enlightening Feldenkrais workshop with Hagit Vardi.
Karen has been teaching both cello and piano for over 20 years. A pedagogue emphasizing both tradition and innovation, Karen works with students of all ages and levels. She considers it a great honor to pass her knowledge of craft on to her students and hopes she is inspiring lifelong music lovers in each one.
When she is not teaching or performing Karen enjoys spending time with her husband, double bassist Andrew Harmon, their beautiful Haitian daughter, Estere, and their conures, Henry & Zeus. She also loves cooking (Karen received professional plant-based culinary certification in 2014), honing her food photography, hiking, biking, practicing yoga and language studies. She continues her exploration of the Feldenkrais technique in private sessions and through ATM lessons. Karen is also a Health Coach, receiving her certification from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in September of 2015.
Below is one of Karen's favorite quotes by the cellist who breathed life into our beloved Bach Suites:
"Real understanding does not come from what we learn in books; it comes from what we learn from love of nature, of music, of man. For only what is learned in that way is truly understood."
~ Pablo Casals
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featured cellist on
tracks 2 - 8
recorded in 1998