Biography

Born in Tokyo and beginning her musical career in Montréal and New York, violinist Karen Gomyo has recently made Berlin her home. A musician of the highest calibre, the Chicago Tribune praised her as:

“…a first-rate artist of real musical command, vitality, brilliance and intensity”.

Karen’s 2019/20 season features European debuts with Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin with Cristian Macelaru, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande with Jonathan Nott, Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrücken Kaiserslautern with Pietari Inkenen, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra with Gergely Madaras and Dresdner Philharmoniker with Roderick Cox, as well as returns to Bamberg Symphoniker and Polish National Radio Symphony, among others.

Other recent European appearances include Philharmonia Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre Symphonique de Radio France, WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln, Danish National Symphony, and in March 2019 Karen opened the Dubai Proms with the BBC Symphony and Ben Gernon. Further ahead Karen makes her debut at the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra with Semyon Bychkov.

Already well established in North America Karen has performed with the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Minnesota Orchestra, and the symphony orchestras of Detroit, San Francisco, Dallas, Cincinnati, Toronto, Montréal, Vancouver, St. Louis, and Washington D.C.

Further afield her popularity in Australasia continued over the last few seasons as she toured with New Zealand Symphony and also appeared with West Australian Symphony Orchestra in Perth, Tasmanian Symphony and in recital at the Sydney Opera House. This season sees Karen return to the Melbourne and Sydney symphony orchestras. In Asia she makes her debuts with the Singapore Symphony and Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra.

Strongly committed to contemporary works, Karen gave the North American premiere of Matthias Pintscher’s Concerto No. 2 Mar’eh with the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington under the baton of the composer, as well as Peteris Vasks’ Vox Amoris with the Lapland Chamber Orchestra conducted by John Storgårds. In May 2018 Karen performed the world premiere of Samuel Adams’ new Chamber Concerto with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Esa-Pekka Salonen to great critical acclaim. The work was written specifically for Karen and commissioned by the CSO’s ‘Music Now’ series for their 20th anniversary.

…deeply serious, temperamental and just plain gorgeous… always with a clear sense of the music’s rhythmic pulse and sonic perspectives.” – Toronto Globe & Mail

Karen has had the pleasure of working with such conductors as, Sir Andrew Davis, Cristian Macaleru, David Robertson, David Zinman, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Hannu Lintu, Jaap van Zweden, Jakub Hrusa, James Gaffigan, Karina Canellakis, Leonard Slatkin, Louis Langrée, Mark Wigglesworth, Mirga Gražinyte-Tyla, Neeme Järvi, Pinchas Zukerman, Thomas Dausgaard, Thomas Søndergård, Vasily Petrenko and Yannick Nézet-Séguin.

A passionate chamber musician, Karen has enjoyed a fruitful collaboration with guitarist Ismo Eskelinen which culminates in the release of a recording of works by Paganini and his baroque predecessors scheduled for November 2019 on BIS Records. Karen has also collaborated with Kathryn Stott, Leif Ove Andsnes, James Ehnes, Antoine Tamestit, Emmanuel Pahud, Lawrence Power, Christian Poltéra, Alisa Weilerstein, Tine Thing Helseth, Lars Anders Tomter, Eric le Sage, Daishin Kashimoto, Paul Meyer, and the late Heinrich Schiff. She gave a three-week tour of Australia with Mezzo-soprano Susan Graham and members of the Australian Chamber Orchestra and has also joined Jeremy Denk at his Milton Court/Barbican residency in London. She also appears regularly at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark. Future chamber plans include a new piano trio with pianist Olli Mustonen and cellist Julian Steckel.

Karen participated as violinist, host, and narrator in a documentary film produced by NHK Japan about Antonio Stradivarius called The Mysteries of the Supreme Violin, which was broadcast worldwide on NHK WORLD.

She is also a champion of the Nuevo Tango music of Astor Piazzolla, with plans in development for a diverse programme with the San Francisco Symphony. Karen regularly collaborates with Piazzolla’s longtime pianist and tango legend Pablo Ziegler, as well as, more recently, with bandoneon players Hector de Curto and JP Jofre.

Karen plays on the “Aurora” Stradivarius violin of 1703 that was bought for her exclusive use by a private sponsor.