Karen Wagner joined the Oregon Symphony in 1999 as Assistant Principal/Second Oboe. Since arriving in Oregon, she has enjoyed a thriving teaching studio and many opportunities to make music in the Pacific Northwest. Some of the highlights include Chamber Music Northwest, the Oregon Bach Festival as well as Portland based contemporary music ensembles Fear No Music and Third Angle. Karen holds a Bachelor’s degree from the State University of New york at Buffalo and almost (but not quite) completed a Masters at USC before heading off to play in the Louisville Orchestra and eventually the New World Symphony. Karen is a student of Allan Vogel, Ronald Richards and worked extensively with John de Lancie as a fellow at the Aspen Music Festival. Karen resides in Portland, Oregon with her sweetie Dave.
Current Residence: Portland OR
My primary instrument is: oboe
I also play: piano badly, and Scrabble- less badly
I was born in: Buffalo NY
I started playing in the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra in: 2000
Favorite piece performed at Cabrillo: Anything by John Adams but especially City Noir and A Guide to Strange Places. I distinctly remember playing A Guide to Strange Places and being bowled over by it. Christopher O'Riley was the soloist, I believe it was 2003. It was so different than anything of Adams that I had heard up to that point. I was still so new to the Festival at that time and astounded by the new repertoire I was getting a chance to learn. Aside from a wind section that is to die for- one of the best things about Cabrillo is that it is guaranteed not only to challenge us but to continuously surprise us!
When I am not at Cabrillo Festival, I engage with music this way: I teach and am a freelance musician.