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Karen Briggs

Jazz/Soul Violinon

Wed, Feb 16

Karen Briggs is an American violinist adept in jazz, soul and New Age styles of music.

Taking violin lessons from an early age, Briggs attended Norfolk State University majoring in music education and mass media.

By 1983, she was playing with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, where she remained for the next four years.

In 1987, she returned to New York City, where she won amateur night at the famous Apollo Theater four times.

After marrying in 1988 and moving to Los Angeles, Briggs embarked on her first professional tour with Soul II Soul and toured throughout America and Japan.

In 1991, Briggs auditioned for Yanni, the contemporary instrumental keyboard composer. She spent the next 13 years touring and recording with him, and can be seen on his live music videos including Yanni Live at the Acropolis, Yanni Live at Royal Albert Hall, and in Tribute performed both at the Taj Mahal in Agra, India and in the Forbidden City, in China.

From her appearance on these Yanni videos, she was nicknamed “The Lady in Red.”

After leaving Yanni in 2004, she performed at Carnegie Hall with Dave Grusin, and has also performed with a number of other artists over the years, including Stanley Clarke, the Wu Tang Clan, En Vogue and Chaka Khan, Wynton Marsalis, Benise, André Manga, Marla Gibbs, Kenny Loggins, Ashley Maher, Taliesin Orchestra, Patrice Rushen and Diana Ross.

Her career includes appearances in many TV/movie soundtracks as well as various other concerts (ranging from Carnegie Hall to Harlem’s Apollo Theater to The Kennedy Center) and TV shows. She also had a cameo appearance in the 1999 motion picture Music of the Heart.

Briggs has a natural ability to improvise in various styles of music, such as symphonic orchestra, Latin orquesta, R &
B, gospel, jazz ensemble and even rap.

Additional exposure to genres of Caribbean, Afro Latin, Pop and Middle Eastern musical idioms has allowed her to evolutionize her identifiable style.
Briggs took part in a documentary titled “Live Music, Community & Social Conscience” while part of Geri Allen’s ensemble at the Frog Island Music Festival. She is also featured in “The History Makers” .

In 2002 Briggs recorded some music for the Hidden Beach Recordings label on a CD titled Unwrapped Vol. 2, including her rendition of a popular rap song from the artist Coolio, “Gangsta’s Paradise”, among other songs that Briggs contributed to this project.

Since that time, Karen has independently released a third project entitled, “Soulchestral Groove” (2009)

* Well regarded violinist adept in all styles of music.

* Best known for her 13 years with Yanni.

* Has performed with Stanley Clarke, the Wu Tang Clan, En Vogue and Chaka Khan, Wynton Marsalis, Kenny Loggins, Taliesin Orchestra, Patrice Rushen and Diana Ross.

“Her violin playing is immaculate, she is a talented composer/arranger and her featured playing on New Age artist Yanni’s multi-platinum Live at the Acropolis exposed her abilities to millions.” – The DCist

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