Karen is a former co-principal harp of the London Symphony Orchestra and was head of Harp at the Academy from 2010 - 2022
Karen was a founder member of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and then principal harp of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra for six years before her return to London in 1984, when she was appointed Co-Principal Harp of the London Symphony Orchestra, a position she held for more than 30 years.
Karen played with the London Symphony Orchestra under the baton of such eminent conductors as Claudio Abbado, Michael Tilson Thomas, Leonard Bernstein, Pierre Boulez, Bernard Haitink, Sir Colin Davis and Valery Gergiev, and collaborated on projects with Sir Paul McCartney, John Williams and Elvis Costello. She can be heard on numerous recordings with the London Symphony Orchestra and on soundtracks for films such as Braveheart, The Queen and the Star Wars and Harry Potter franchises.
From 1999 to 2008 she was Professor of Pedal Harp at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music & Drama (Royal Conservatoire of Scotland) and she also teaches at The Purcell School for Young Musicians. She served on the jury for the 7th USA International Harp Competition in Bloomington in 2007 and for the first European Lyon & Healy Awards held in Cardiff in 2013. President of the jury for the Slovenian Harp Competition in Belgrade in 2016 and the Chamber Music with Harp Competition in Poland in 2017, she was also on the panel for the Chief Musician category in the 4th Wales International Harp Festival in 2018 and the 5th Hong Kong International Harp Competition online section in 2020.
She has coached the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, National Youth Orchestra of Wales, Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra and Spanish National Youth Orchestra, and has given masterclasses in China, Japan, Portugal and Thailand as well as the UK. She co-founded the HarpMasters Summer Academy FUTURES in Switzerland and the Hong Kong Harpy-Summer Academy.
A participant in all the World Harp Congresses since 2002, Karen serves on the Corporation and Board of Directors of the WHC and is its Associate Artistic Director.
Karen studied piano, flute and harp at the Academy and continued her studies with the great Russian harpist Maria Korchinska.
Her pupils have had considerable success in national and international competitions and hold orchestral and teaching positions worldwide.