Karen's story

A Southern California native, Karen maintains an active schedule as a performer, teacher, composer, multi-genre keyboardist, recording artist, and is the founder of ValleyGirlBeats, a music production studio.

Because Karen is an incredibly versatile keyboardist and has performed and recorded with some of the most respected artists in the music scene including  Dee Dee Bridgewater, Diane Schuur, Madeline Eastman, Vinnie Colaiuta, Scott Colley, Cathy Segal-Garcia, Chris Conner, Dick Weller, Steve Cardenas,  Kenny Wollesen, Mariane McSweeny, Eric Marienthal, Putter Smith, Bob Shepherd, Ron Stout, Dawn Bishop, Gina Saputo,  Melissa Manchester, Tierney Sutton, Kate McGarry, Michael McDonald, Larry Koonse, Judy Wexler, Julie Christensen, Cris Barber, Janiva Magness, Sweet Baby Jai, and Cynthia Jones.

Some musical career highlights include:

  • Performing at Royce Hall in an all-star tribute to Leonard Cohen, headed by Grammy-nominee Perla Batalla featuring Jackson Browne, Don Was, Bill Frisell, and Greg Leisz;
  • Performing with the great Maurice Hines in Tappin' Thru Life, his homage to his brother Gregory and himself featuring the Jazz Diva Orchestra;
  • Music director for jazz and gospel great Niki Haris , who was with Madonna for several years. With Niki, Karen has performed at the Vail Jazz Festival, the I Love Jazz festival in Brazil, and several times in Bern, Switzerland at  Marians Jazzroom.
Karen has recorded on countless CD projects and has 2 CDs of her own, My Beating Heart and Oh Beautiful Life, and has several original tracks which were recorded at her own production company ValleyGirlBeats that are available through this site.

She is also an active educator and has been teaching at Musicians Institute of Los Angeles for 15 years and taught at Los Angeles College of Music for 12 years. She was on staff in 2015 for Madeline Eastman's JazzCampWest, alongside great jazz artists Josh Nelson, Sara Leib, and Laurence Hobgood. Karen has also been involved in well-known jazz vocalist Julie Kelly's famous Jazz On The Hill, an intense workshop for budding jazz singers, for 10 years. She was involved in trumpet great Bobby Rodriguiz's Jazz Adventure, a Los Angeles Music Center sponsored jazz education project for kids. Karen also teaches privately at her home studio in Los Angeles.