Karen Bentley Pollick has performed as violinist with Paul Dresher’s Electro-Acoustic Ensemble since 1999 and performs 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. She has several recordings of original music, including Electric Diamond, 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 and Russian Soulscapes. She filmed Dan Tepfer‘s Solo Blues for Violin and Piano in Shoal Creek, Alabama, in June 2009.
Pollick was concertmaster of the New York String Orchestra at Carnegie Hall in 1984 and has participated in the June in Buffalo and Wellesley Composers Conferences. She has appeared as soloist with Redwood Symphony in the world premiere of Swedish composer Ole Saxe’s Dance Suite for Violin and Orchestra, the Alabama Symphony, and orchestras in Panama, Russia, Alaska, New York and California. She has performed in recital with Russian pianist/composer Ivan Sokolov at the American Academy of Rome, Seattle and New York City, throughout the Czech Republic with cellist Dennis Parker at the American Spring Festival, and in England at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival. Along with choreographer Teri Weksler and percussionist John Scalici, Pollick received a Cultural Alliance of Greater Birmingham 2008 Interdisciplinary Grant to Individual Artists. Pollick received 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 November 2012 in Brooklyn and Seattle. With Australian pianist Lisa Moore, Pollick formed the duo Prophet Birds in spring 2009, and the Double Duo with Paul Dresher and Joel Davel. Pollick performs on a violin made by Jean Baptiste Vuillaume in 1860 and a viola made in 1987 by William Whedbee and resides Colorado.
Karen Bentley Pollick has performed as violinist with Paul Dresher’s Electro-Acoustic Ensemble since 1999. She performs 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 was concertmaster of the Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra. At Indiana University she studied violin with Yuval Yaron, Josef Gingold and Rostislav Dubinsky and graduated with Bachelors and Masters of Music Degrees with Distinction in Violin Performance. Other teachers include Nathan Milstein, Glenn Dicterow, Jean Jacques Kantorow and Phil Cohen.
She has several recordings of original music, including Electric Diamond, Angel, Konzerto/Succubus and Ariel View, for which she has received three music awards from Just Plain Folks in 2004, including Best Instrumental Album and Best Song. On her own record label Ariel Ventures Pollick has produced Dancing Suite to Suite, <amberwood>, Homage to Fiddlers, and Bebop for Beagles. She has also recorded for CRI, Sony, RCA and Camel Productions, as well as the Bridge, Albany, Mode, Numinous, Innova and Tzadik, labels.
She has collaborated with percussionist Ian Dogole of Global Fusion Music in a variety of musical styles merging string and percussion instruments from around the globe. Pollick 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.
Pollick has served as concertmaster of the Junge Deutsche Philharmonie Kammerorchester as well as the New York String Orchestra at Carnegie Hall under Alexander Schneider in 1984. During the summers she has participated in the June in Buffalo Composers Seminar, the Wellesley Composers Conference, the Olympic Music Festival, the Tanglewood Festival, and the Next Generation Festival in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. While residing in the San Francisco Bay Area she was Associate Concertmaster of the Monterey County Symphony and conductor of the Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra Preparatory Orchestra. For several seasons, she was music director of the PACO Bach Celebration series and has conducted the San Francisco Concerto Orchestra on numerous occasions. Pollick received a grant from the Community Foundation of Silicon Valley for the world premiere of Swedish composer Ole Saxe’s Dance Suite for Solo Violin in December, 2000 and premiered Mr. Saxe’s Dance Suite for Solo Violin and Orchestra with Redwood Symphony, with whom she has also performed John Corigliano’s Chaconne from The Red Violin and violin concertos of Bela Bartók, Johannes Brahms and Sergei Prokofiev. She has appeared as soloist with orchestras in Panama, Alaska, California and New York and performed Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and the Beethoven Violin Concerto in Russia.
With Paul Dresher’s Electro-Acoustic Band, Pollick performed at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall as part of the In Your Ear festival, hosted by John Adams. She was guest violinist with the Moscow based contemporary music group Opus Posthumous under the direction of Tatiana Grindenko and with the Seattle Chamber Players in their Icebreaker II: Baltic Voices Festival, which was featured on St. Paul Sunday. She has performed with the Four Horizons Quartet in the Philadelphia area, featuring the premiere of Across the Horizons by Penn composer Jay Reise and championed the violin and cello duos of Lebanon Valley College composer Scott Eggert.
During her years in Birmingham, Alabama, Pollick was a member of Birmingham Art Music Alliance (BAMA) and performed the Sibelius Violin Concerto with the Alabama Symphony. Along with choreographer Teri Weksler and percussionist John Scalici, Pollick received a Cultural Alliance of Greater Birmingham 2008 Interdisciplinary Grant to Individual Artists. Their original music and choreography debuted at Birmingham-Southern College in May 2009, with repeat performances of Quips and Cranks at Samford University in spring 2010 garnering a 5 star review: “At one point, violinist Karen Bentley Pollick was required to fall sideways into the arms of guest dancer Roger Van Fleteren while executing a downward glissando.” Pollick received 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. “Rarely will a recital such as this engage the ear from beginning to end, yet each piece at Birmingham Museum of Art event had a unique style and temperament, reflecting Pollick’s keen sense for gleaning quality in experimental music and giving these scores their rightful due… Pollick not only extended that thread, she vitalized and emboldened it.” Other collaborations include the New York based Ensemble for the Romantic Century, and appearances at the Amelia Island and Highlands-Cashiers Chamber Music Festivals.
With her <amberwood> partner, Russian pianist and composer Ivan Sokolov, she has performed in recital in Seattle, Birmingham and at the American Academy of Rome in a program of duos composed especially for them by Sokolov, Charles Norman Mason (winner of the 2005 Samuel Barber Rome Prize in Music Composition) and Dorothy Hindman. She has concertized throughout the Czech Republic in the 2007 and 2008 American Spring Festivals with Louisiana State University Professor of Cello Dennis Parker. At the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Pollick performed David Felder’s Another Face for Violin Solo and Delcom video walls.
Pollick formed the duo Prophet Birds With Australian pianist Lisa Moore in spring 2009, performing a program of duos by John Adams, Sam Adams, Martin Bresnick, and Paul Dresher in Birmingham, Los Angeles and New York City. “The stylistic cohesiveness in the Prophet Birds program Monday at Hill Recital Hall was made all the more convincing by Karen Bentley Pollick’s and Lisa Moore’s determination to make it lucid and palatable.” The Prophet Birds joined forces with Paul Dresher and Joel Davel to form Double Duo, performing repertoire for violin, piano, marimba lumina and quadrachord. With Bang on a Can Allstars cellist Ashley Bathgate, they premiered Sam Adams’ Piano Trio at Bargemusic in Brooklyn on September 29, 2011.
She filmed Dan Tepfer’s Solo Blues for Violin and Piano in Shoal Creek, Alabama in June 2009. “Pollick pretty much lit the house on fire with her movements as well as her playing. But after having played the piano and violin simultaneously, she deserved to go wild.”
Pollick performs on a violin made by Jean Baptiste Vuillaume in Paris in 1860, a 1987 viola by William Whedbee of Chicago, a hardangerfele made in 2000 by Erling Aaning of Oslo, Norway and a F212 grand piano by Paolo Fazioli of Sacile, Italy. She currently resides in Colorado.