MusiciansKaren Chen

Karen Chen is a versatile clarinetist hailing from Sydney, NSW. Karen completed a Bachelor of Music Performance with a High Distinction average at the Sydney Conservatorium, where she was a recipient of the University of Sydney Academic Merit Prize, Board of Governors’ Scholarship and the Corinna Taylor Memorial Prize for the highest marks in a Performance degree.

During her studies, she featured as Principal Clarinet with the Conservatorium Symphony Orchestra, Wind Symphony and New Music Ensemble, and was involved in Opera Orchestra’s collaboration with the National Institute of Dramatic Arts (NIDA). She has played with the Sydney Youth Orchestras and is a casual musician in the local Sydney scene, having performed in the Opera House, Sydney Town Hall, City Recital Hall, The Concourse and Seymour Centre.

An avid chamber musician, Karen is a founding member of Kassia Reed Quintet and Ensemble Mnemosyne – engaging intimate concerts during the difficult COVID-19 period, premiering electro-acoustic and ambient works, and invited by the University of Sydney to perform at the 2022 Vice-Chancellor's Reception.

In 2023, Karen played in masterclasses overseas with Harri Mäki (Sibelius Academy), Tuulia Ylönen (Finnish National Opera and Ballet) and Matthew Hunt (Deutsche Kammer­philharmonie Bremen). She also performed as Principal in Sibelius’ Symphony no. 1 with the Järvi Academy Orchestra, founded by Paavo Järvi (Chief Conductor, Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich).

Outside of music, Karen enjoys seeing art exhibitions, punch-needling, and ice-skating, especially in the summer.

Karen studied with Francesco Celata (Associate Principal Clarinet, SSO) and Susan Newsome (Senior Lecturer, Sydney Conservatorium). In 2024, Karen commences her first year at the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM) under the tutelage of David Thomas (Principal Clarinet, MSO).

Karen's training is supported by Di Jameson OAM and Frank Mercurio.

She is further supported by ANAM Syndicate donors Ann Grant, Rosalind Price, Geoff and Margaret Stewart, Jennifer Darin through the Darin-Cooper Foundation.

Photo by Pia Johnson

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