As an instrumental artist, Karen has worked with The Libra Ensemble, Aphids, Orchestra Victoria, Sunwrae Ensemble, The Grand Silent System, Ennis Tola, The Phonos Project, Arcko Symphonic Project, Gemma Turvey and The New Palm Court Orchestra, has performed several times at the Melbourne International Jazz Festival as well as the International Arts Festival, performed and recorded for Lior as well as David MacDonald (The Waifs) and has recorded and performed for filmscore and numerous other freelance projects. In 2008, Karen performed a piece with Arcko Symphonic Project entitled Learning to Howl, which was nominated for an APRA award for Best Performance of an Australian Classical Composition in 2009.

In 2011, Karen performed Elliot Gyger's 1996 concerto for E-flat clarinet A Wilderness of Mirrors as a soloist with Arcko Symphonic Project. The concerto, recorded by ABC Classic FM, with Karen's performance described by presenter Stephen Adams as 'virtuosic', can be listened to by clicking here.

In 2014, Karen participated in a tour with The New Palm Court Orchestra, which included venues such as The Sydney Opera House and Melbourne Recital Centre. Guest artist was Berklee Professor and 4-time Grammy Award winning musician, cellist Eugene Friesen (USA). In 2015, the ensemble will travel to Boston and New York for another tour.

Classically trained, Karen has a Masters degree in Music performance (clarinet), the thesis for which led her to Europe where she received lessons from Wolfgang Meyer and Suzanne Stephens. In 2005, Karen performed In Freundschaft at the annual Stockhausen Course in Kuerten, Germany, working with Stockhausen in rehearsal and in performance and won 2nd prize for her performance that year. Returning in 2007, Karen performed again at the Stockhausen Course, playing the heavily choreographed Der Kleine Harlekin, for which she received third prize.

In 2005, Karen received first-class honours for her thesis The Synthesis of Music and Dance: Performance Strategies for Selected Choreographic Music Works by Karlheinz Stockhausen, from Monash University.

As a composer, Karen won Best Music Award in 2006 at the Melbourne Fringe Festival for her 50-minute memorised and choreographed piece Ananke. Also in 2006, she toured regional Australia with The Phonos Project, performing her work Io, along with artist-in-residence Swedish composer Henrik Hansson, whose composition Stadium appeared on the same program. Karen has had her works performed in Montreal and Edinburgh (commission from by Piazza Contemporary Collective 2007), Tokyo (2009 and 2012) and Reykavic (commission from Duo Harpwerk 2009).

Karen is a represented Associate Artist with the Australian Music Centre.


Download the thesis The Synthesis of Music and Dance: Performance Strategies for Selected Choreographic Music Works by Karen Heath.