Karen Dreyfus has distinguished herself as a recipient of many prizes both in this country and abroad including the Naumburg Viola Competition (1982), the Lionel Tertis Competition (1980), the Washington International Competition (1979), and the Hudson Valley Competition (1978).
Ms. Dreyfus has concertized extensively in the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia, and South America. Some of her musical collaborations have been with Musicians From Marlboro, Philomusica, Theater Chamber Players of the Kennedy Center, the New York Philharmonic and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. Karen Dreyfus has performed in recital with Yehudi Menuhin at Carnegie Hall and has also collaborated with such artists as Rudolf Serkin, Alexander Schneider, Leon Fleisher, Chick Corea, and her husband, Glenn Dicterow.
Born into a family of musicians, she began studying the violin with her father, a member of the Philadelphia Orchestra and later decided to pursue a career on the viola under the tutelage of Leonard Mogill. A 1979 graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music where she studied with Michael Tree and Karen Tuttle Ms. Dreyfus moved to New York where she performs solo concerts, chamber music recitals and teaches viola, chamber music and orchestral studies.
In 2001 Karen Dreyfus joined the faculty of the Juilliard School where she teaches a sonata class for violists and pianists and other chamber music ensembles. Ms. Dreyfus also serves on the viola faculty of the Manhattan School of Music where she teaches viola, chamber music as well as on the Graduate Orchestra Performance Program. Ms. Dreyfus has taught on the faculties of Third Street Music School Settlement, SUNY Purchase and Queens College. In 2013 Karen Dreyfus will join the string faculty at the University of Southern California's Thornton School of Music.
Karen Dreyfus has received a National Endowment for the Arts Solo Recitalists Award and has performed extensively throughout the United States. She has also recorded many CDs. Her premiere recording with Bridge Records entitled “Romanze” has been received with much critical acclaim. American Record Guide cites Ms. Dreyfus as “a terrific player with impeccable technique and intonation, beautiful tone, and real musicianship. Her playing is highly expressive and responsive to the many moods elicited by this varied program.”
In 1995 Karen Dreyfus was invited to Poland to record the William Walton Viola Concerto with the Warsaw Philharmonic. She also recorded works for viola and orchestra by eight American composers with the Silesian Philharmonic. In 1997 Ms. Dreyfus recorded and premiered three more solo works with the Czech Radio Symphony of Prague. These CDs have been released on the MMC label.
Ms. Dreyfus has released two solo recordings for MMC Recordings. The first is the Willian Walton Viola Concerto coupled with William Thomas McKinley’s Viola Concerto No. 3. Karen Dreyfus has completed Viola Concertos Volume II for MMC which includes works by four American composers works for viola and orchestra with the Silesian Philharmonic Orchestra, Jerzy Swoboda, conductor.
In the fall of 2002 Karen Dreyfus and Glenn Dicterow released the Mozart Sinfonia Concertante along with the McKinley “Concert Variations” which was written expressly for them. It is on the MMC label with conductor Carl St. Clair and the Warsaw National Philharmonic.
Her most recent CDs are “American Journeys” and Concerto No. 2 of William McKinley. Fanfare Magazine called Karen Dreyfus…" a star …, she is superb throughout, a real virtuoso.”
Recently Dreyfus along with the ensemble Lyric Piano Quartet, has released a recording of piano quartet works of Strauss and Turina for Black Box Records. It has been given the honor of being nominated “Editor’s Choice” by Gramophone Magazine. BBC Magazine said that the Lyric Piano Quartet “marries the old-fashion virtues of portamento and warm vibrato to a quicksilver intelligence.”
In 2013, Karen Dreyfus joined the USC Thornton faculty where she teaches viola and is Director of Chamber Music.