Karen Gottlieb

Posted by September 13, 2012


Karen Gottlieb has been acclaimed by the Marin Independent Journal as “an artist who has something extra- the flair, the confidence that makes a mere musician into a star performer,” and cited by the San Francisco Chronicle for her “sumptuous and beautiful” harp solo. Her playing has been praised in The San Francisco Classical Voice as “expertly played” and in the San Francisco Examiner as “particularly impressive.” She is internationally recognized for her musicianship as an ensemble and solo player.

For more than 30 years, Ms. Gottlieb has performed, toured and recorded with such notable ensembles as the San Francisco Symphony – with which she is the recipient of multiple Grammy Awards, San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, San Francisco Girls Chorus, Pacific Boychoir, San Francisco Boys Chorus, California Symphony and the Skywalker Recording Symphony. In her touring with the San Francisco Symphony, she has performed in many of the world’s greatest concert halls including Royal Albert Hall, London; Musikverein, Vienna; Concertgebouw, Amsterdam; Philharmonie Berlin; and with some of the leading music festivals – Salzburg, Edinburgh, London Proms and Lucerne. Within the USA, she has performed in most of the major symphonic venues from Carnegie Hall to Disney Hall and performed under the directions of many of the leading conductors – Claudio Abbado, Herbert Blomstedt, George Solti, Seiji Ozawa, Michael Tilson Thomas, Edo DeWaart, Erich Leinsdorf and Mstislav Rostropovich.

As a freelance artist, she regularly performs with many ensembles, especially enjoying her work in Contemporary music. These include The San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, where she is principal harpist as well as a member of the Board of Directors, Opera Parallele, the Left Coast Ensemble and Earplay. Among the many leading 20th & 21st century composers, she has worked personally and in ensembles with Elliot Carter, John Adams, Lou Harrison, Phillip Glass, John Williams, Gunther Schuller, Jake Heggie, Alan Hovhaness, John Luther Adams & Witold Lutoslawski.

Not confined just to the classical symphonic world, she has also worked with many of the most celebrated of popular culture artists including Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett, Linda Ronstadt & Michael Feinstein. She is the harpist for the Skywalker Recording Symphony, having recorded many of the major movie, TV and Video Game soundtracks, and served as principal harpist with the California Symphony (20 years) and the Cabrillo Music Festival (5 years). She has also appeared with other ensembles: SF Opera Orchestra, SF Ballet Orchestra, The Kirov Ballet Orchestra 1995 USA Tour, The Russian National Orchestra 2010 USA Tour and many of the Broadway Touring companies including A Chorus Line, Hello Dolly, Ann-Margaret Show, Nine, Tap Dance Kid and Woman of the Year. For nearly 20 years she has worked with the San Francisco Symphony’s Education Department in their ‘Adventures In Music’ program, giving more than a hundred concerts each year in elementary schools in San Francisco.

Ms Gottlieb is also trained as a harp technician, servicing harps throughout the West Coast and Mexico. She is a member of the Technicians Guild for Lyon & Healy and Salvi Harps.

Ms. Gottlieb received her Bachelor’s degree at the University of Washington in Seattle and her Masters in Performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music. Her teachers include Alice Chalifoux, Lynne Palmer, Pamela Vokolek, Marjorie Call, Marianna Oberascher and Linda Wood Rollo, including summer studies with Lucile Laurence and Susann McDonald. Ms. Gottlieb is sought after for workshops, master classes, and lectures to amateur and professionals alike. She is on the faculty of San Francisco State University and Mills College, Oakland and has also served as a substitute harp instructor/coach at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music as well as the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra. She maintains a private studio for teaching and advanced coaching.

Karen’s CD can be found here.