Karen Bentley Pollick joined the Paul Dresher Electro-Acoustic Ensemble in 1999 and champions a wide range of solo repertoire and styles on violin, viola, piano and Norwegian hardangerfele. A native of Palo Alto, California, she studied with Camilla Wicks in San Francisco, and with Yuval Yaron, Josef Gingold and Rostislav Dubinsky at Indiana University, where she received both Bachelors and Masters of Music Degrees in Violin Performance with a cognate in Choral Conducting. Her recordings of original music include Electric Diamond, Angel, Konzerto and Succubus and Ariel View, for which she has received three music awards from Just Plain Folks, including Best Instrumental Album and Best Song. On her own record label Ariel Ventures she has produced Dancing Suite to Suite, <amberwood>, Homage to Fiddlers, Russian Soulscapes, Bebop for Beagles, Estadio and Peace Piece, and filmed Dan Tepfer’s Solo Blues for Violin and Piano. She has also recorded for CRI, Sony, RCA and Camel Productions, as well as the Bridge, Albany, Mode, Numinous, Innova, Tzadik, NEOS and Blue Coast Records labels.
Concertmaster of the Junge Deutsche Philharmonie Kammerorchester and the New York String Orchestra, Karen has also participated in the June in Buffalo and Wellesley Composers Conferences, and the Olympic Music, Tanglewood, Amelia Island, Next Generation, Canberra, Permainu Muzika, and Bowling Green State Contemporary Music Festivals. She has toured with the New York Philharmonic, Mikhail Baryshnikov’s White Oak Dance Project, Erick Hawkins Dance Company, the Bolshoi Ballet and Barbra Streisand, and has recorded with the Dave Matthews Band and Evanescence as well as numerous film scores at Skywalker Ranch. She was a guest artist with the contemporary music group Opus Posthumous from Moscow, Seattle Chamber Players in their Icebreaker II: Baltic Voices Festival, and Ensemble for the Romantic Century in New York. She performs frequently with Valse Cafe Orchestra in Seattle.
She premiered Swedish composer Ole Saxe’s Dance Suite for Violin and Orchestra with Redwood Symphony and has performed concertos with the Alabama Symphony and orchestras in Panama, Russia, Alaska, New York and California. Karen has presented recitals with Russian pianist/composer Ivan Sokolov at the American Academy of Rome, Seattle, New York City, Alabama, Louisiana and Colorado and throughout the Czech Republic; with cellist Dennis Parker at the American Spring Festival in Brno; and in England at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival. Along with choreographer Teri Weksler and percussionist John Scalici, she received a Cultural Alliance of Greater Birmingham 2008 Interdisciplinary Grant to Individual Artists towards the creation of Quips and Cranks. Karen was awarded a grant from the Alabama State Council for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts for her March 2010 Solo Violin and Alternating Currents concerts in Birmingham, Seattle and at Music Olomouc 2011. She launched Violin, Viola & Video Virtuosity with New York video artist Sheri Wills in April 2012 at Evergroove Studio and has since performed the program featuring sixteen videos projected onto the violinist in Brooklyn, Seattle, Colorado Springs, Klaipeda and New York. With pianist Lisa Moore and the Paul Dresher Double Duo she toured Australia in May 2013 and the US in fall 2014. While residing in Vilnius, Lithuania she debuted Resonances from Vilna with pianist Jascha Nemtsov in May 2014, Nothing is Forever with actor Aiste Ptakauske in December 2015, and premiered David A. Jaffe’s violin concerto How Did It Get So Late So Soon? with the Lithuanian National Opera & Ballet Theatre Orchestra in August 2016. Karen performs on a violin made by Jean Baptiste Vuillaume in 1860 and a viola made in 1987 by William Whedbee.
Karen received a Seed Money Grant for Disseminated Performances from New York Women Composers towards solo concerts with electronics in Seattle and Stanford University’s CCRMA in spring 2018. She is represented on two tracks of Dorothy Hindman’s “Tightly Wound”, released on Innova and winner of #1 Gold Medal in the Fall 2017 Global Music Awards.