Karen Ouzounian
Karen OuzounianDescribed as “radiant” and “expressive” (The New York Times) and “nothing less than gorgeous” (Memphis Commercial Appeal), cellist Karen Ouzounian approaches music-making with a deeply communicative and passionate spirit. Winner of the S&R Foundation’s 2016 Washington Award and at home in diverse musical settings, she has become increasingly drawn towards unusual collaborations and eclectic contemporary repertoire.
Karen is a founding member of the Aizuri Quartet, which was awarded First Prize at the 2017 Osaka International Chamber Music Competition in Japan and is the String Quartet-in-Residence at the Metropolitan Museum of Art for its 2017-18 season. The Quartet was a prizewinner in the 2015 Wigmore Hall International String Quartet Competition in London and has held residencies at the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts, Curtis Institute of Music, and the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia. The Quartet has commissioned works by such composers as Caroline Shaw, Yevgeniy Sharlat, Paul Wiancko and Gabriella Smith, and will be featured in the 2017 premiere of the 65-minute chamber opera “Sophia’s Forest” by composer Lembit Beecher, along with soprano Kiera Duffy and custom-built, electronically-controlled sound sculptures.

In addition to her work with the Aizuri Quartet, Karen’s commitment to adventurous repertoire and the collaborative process has led to her membership in the Grammy-nominated, self-conducted chamber orchestra A Far Cry and the critically-acclaimed new music collective counter)induction, along with regular appearances with the Silk Road Ensemble and The Knights. Highlights of Karen’s recent and upcoming seasons include performances of the Elgar Concerto in Chile with the Philharmonic Orchestra of Santiago, a touring collaboration between the Silk Road Ensemble and the Mark Morris Dance Group, recitals at the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts with pianist Ieva Jokubaviciute, a tour of Japan with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and tours with Musicians from Marlboro and Musicians from Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute. Additionally she has performed as guest principal of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, IRIS Orchestra, and Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia.

Born to Armenian parents in Toronto, Karen was a prizewinner at the 2012 Canada Council for the Arts Musical Instrument Bank Competition. She holds Master of Music and Bachelor of Music degrees from The Juilliard School, where she was a student of Timothy Eddy. She resides in New York City with her husband, composer Lembit Beecher.