For more than 30 years, harpist Karen Gottlieb has performed, toured and recorded with such notable ensembles as the San Francisco Symphony, 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. Among the many leading 20th and 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.

Karen 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 movies, TV and video game soundtracks, and served as principal harpist with the California Symphony and the Cabrillo Music Festival.

Karen 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.  

Karen  joined SFCMP in 1990.