Contemporary World Musician, Performer, Composer, Arranger, Producer
Karen Briggs is known internationally as a virtuoso violinist with extraordinary versatility, in her ability to cover a wide span of various genres. Some of that includes an eclectic range of orchestral, Gospel, Funk, R&B, Latin, New Age, Rock, Hip Hop, Middle Eastern and several Jazz style influences. Linked by improvisation and embellishment, her audio- visual signature has become extremely popular and she is constantly sought after for a variety of live events and recorded projects internationally. She appears as a feature in no less than seventeen music video concerts, recordings and has recorded three solo projects. She has performed as a featured soloist in over forty-five countries.
Karen started learning violin in public school as with her family's relocation from NYC to Portsmouth, VA. With strong family music influences in jazz and gospel, she began to experiment with the violin outside of traditional expectations and quickly caught-on locally as a unique, feature-talent. While attending Norfolk University her studies expanded with classical music and jazz performance.
Validated only by the knowledge of a few violinists who, like herself, performed in contemporary violin genres, (Noel Pointer,Jean Luc Ponty, Stephan Grappelli) Karen pursued her own signature sound.
After a four-time win at “Amateur Night at the Apollo”, she moved to Los Angeles in 1987, where she investigated the local Latin music scene for several years. During that time, she also landed her first major world tour with British based R&B sensation, “Soul ll Soul" (“Back to Life”) a show that uniquely included a trio of choreographed violinists.
Shortly thereafter, Karen auditioned for the Yanni string band. Often referred to as "the lady in red", her fiery violin solos have been seen and remembered by millions internationally. In fact, the highly memorable PBS special "Live at the Acropolis" was broadcasted in 65 countries and viewed by over 500 million plus.
Accompanied by pianist/composer Dave Grusin, Karen represented jazz violin for a NYC string program benefit fundraising event hosted by Itzhak Perlman and Isaac Stern, marking her feature debut at Carnegie Hall in 1999. Shortly thereafter, a cameo appearance in the resulting family movie classic entitled, "Music of the Heart" starring Meryl Streep, Angela Bassett and Gloria Estefan, earned Karen a reputation as one of the top violinists in the world. That same year, original "Return-To-Forever" members, Stanley Clarke and Lenny White assembled a group-titled, jazz-rock project called, "Vertu".
Soon after, an invite from Diana Ross came with an opportunity to record and appear on The Oprah Winfrey Show. Ms. Ross has since invited Karen to work with her on several of her tours.
Briggs' musical expression is featured in successful hip hop releases such as "Reunited" by Rza & Wu Tang Clan and "Hidden Beach’s Unwrapped" series Volumes 1-5, of which her rendition of fan favorite,
"Gangsta’s Paradise” continues to inspire up and coming violinists.
Most recently she has appeared in concerts with Oud player,Naseer Shamma who's concerts have taken her to Iraq, Sudan, Abu Dhabi and Kuwait.
Karen frequently performs features guest appearances with various artists and colleagues and has been acknowledged recently by the Los Angeles Black Music Award for Best Female Jazz Performer, as well as, the
Charles Mingus Award for Jazz.
For 2020, Karen will have a new video single releases available on her new video channel.