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Karen Vaughan Print version
Karen Vaughan - Head of Harp, Royal Academy of Music, London



Karen Vaughan
studied piano, flute and harp at the Royal Academy of Music, where she held the Baume (Manx) Scholarship and twice won the Julia Leney Prize for Harp.   After she graduated she continued her studies with the great Russian harpist Maria Korchinska and took an active part in the International Harpweeks held annually in Holland.

She taught at the Junior Department of the RAM before her career took her to Scotland.   A founder member of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, she often appeared as a concerto soloist.   She was then principal harp of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra for six years before her return to London in 1984, when she was awarded the ARAM and was appointed co-principal harp of the London Symphony Orchestra.   After thirty years she has retired, having played under the baton of such eminent conductors as Abbado, Tilson Thomas, Bernstein, Boulez, Haitink, Sir Colin Davis and Gergiev as well as collaborating on projects with Sir Paul McCartney, John Williams and Elvis Costello.   She can be heard on numerous classical and crossover recordings with the LSO and on the soundtracks for films such as Star Wars,  Braveheart, Little Women, The Queen and Harry Potter.   She gave the harp masterclass for the YouTube Symphony Orchestra in 2008 and again in 2010.   She also plays in the duo Cavatina with violinist Gillian Findlay.

Karen acted as hostess at the Maria Korchinska International Harp Competition and Workshop in the Isle of Man in 1983 and played in tribute to Maria Korchinska at the 8th.  World Harp Congress in Geneva in 2002.   The following year she was elected to the WHC Board of Directors and she also serves on its Corporation.   A participant in the subsequent congresses in Dublin (2005) and Amsterdam (2008), she gave a masterclass on Britten’s “A Ceremony of Carols” in Vancouver (2011) and chaired an orchestral workshop in Sydney (2014).  She has been appointed Assistant Artistic Director of the WHC to Isabelle Perrin.

She has taught at The Purcell School for musically gifted children and was Professor of Pedal Harp at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music & Drama, Glasgow, from 1999 to 2008.   She has coached the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, the National Youth Orchestra of Wales and the Pacific Youth Orchestra.  Rejoining the RAM Harp department in 2004, she is currently Head of Harp.   Her past pupils have had considerable success in national and international competitions and hold orchestral and teaching positions worldwide.  She was awarded Fellowship of the RAM in July 2014.

Karen served on the jury for the USA International Harp Competition in Bloomington in 2007 and for the first European Lyon & Healy Awards in Cardiff, 2013. She is in demand for masterclasses and examining throughout the UK. For many years she was Vice President of the UK Harp Association.  


 



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