Karen Dreyfus has distinguished herself as a recipient of many prizes both in this country and abroad including the Naumburg Viola Competition (1982), the Lionel Tertis Competition (1980), the Washington International Competition (1979), and the Hudson Valley Competition (1978).
During her career, she has concertized extensively in the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia, and South America. Ms. Dreyfus has performed and toured with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Musicians From Marlboro, as well as the New York Philharmonic.
Born into a family of musicians, Karen Dreyfus began studying the violin with her father, a member of the Philadelphia Orchestra, and later decided to pursue a career on the viola under the tutelage of Leonard Mogill, Heidi Castleman, and Martha Katz. A graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, where she studied with Michael Tree and Karen Tuttle, Ms. Dreyfus moved to New York where she performs solo and chamber music and teaches viola, orchestra repertoire, and chamber music.
Karen Dreyfus has received a National Endowment for the Arts Solo Recitalists Award. She has also recorded many CDs, both solo and chamber music. Her premiere recording with Bridge Records entitled Romanze has been received with much critical acclaim. American Record Guide cites Ms. Dreyfus as “a terrific player with impeccable technique and intonation, beautiful tone, and real musicianship. Her playing is highly expressive and responsive to the many moods elicited by this varied program.” Ms. Dreyfus has had many new works written for her and has premiered works by composers such as Ezra Laderman, Elizabeth Brown, William Thomas McKinley, and George Tsontakis.
More recently she recorded the William Walton Viola Concerto, Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante, and solo works by American composers. She has also recorded the Martinu Madrigals on a Cala Records CD titled New York Legends with violinist Glenn Dicterow. Karen Dreyfus, along with the ensemble the Lyric Piano Quartet, released a recording of Strauss and Turina which was nominated “Editor's Choice” by Gramophone Magazine. Bridge Records has released an all Dvorák recording with members of the Lyric Piano Quartet as well as a Dohnanyi recording on which Karen Dreyfus has participated.
In 1991 Ms Dreyfus was invited to join the viola faculty of the Manhattan School of Music where she teaches viola, chamber music, and orchestral studies. In 2001, she joined the faculty of the Juilliard School where she teaches chamber music. In 2010 she also joined the viola faculty of Mannes College of Music. Karen Dreyfus is a founding member of the Lyric Piano Quartet, the Amerigo Trio, and the Antonin Quartet.
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