Her solo piano compositions range from delicate and soothing to passionate and soul-stirring, evoking the beauty of nature, the subtle shades of human emotion and a longing for spiritual wholeness. According to her hometown newspaper, the Bellingham Herald, “Her soaring compositions are reminiscent of snowstorms and waterfalls. Her musical expression is at once powerful and melodic.” Karen’s debut CD, Heart of the Rain, was released in April 1999. Heart of the Rain is nine beautiful piano solos, with tasteful synthesizer enhancement on two tracks.
The album was recorded at Triad Studios in Redmond, Washington, and mixed and mastered at Bellingham's Soundings of the Planet Studio. Heart of the Rain begins with the gentle “Remembering,” bringing us back in touch with our hearts. The journey continues expressing the movements of nature, including the wistful “A Rainy Night Outside Your Door” and the energetic “Summer Rain.” The album climaxes with the triumphant “Emergence,” then soothes us to sleep with “Lullaby.” Karen's musical life began early as she listened to her mother play the classics on the family's baby grand piano. That piano held special fascination for Karen, and at the age of five, she begged her parents for lessons, which initiated twelve years of traditional piano studies emphasizing the classics, music theory, composition and performance.
She graduated with honors from the Wilmington Music School in her hometown in Delaware. In college, Karen majored in Physics and Mathematics, but when she needed a break from her studies, she once again found herself drawn to the piano. As she released pent up feelings at the instrument, she learned how to improvise, and began creating her own distinctive musical vocabulary. Karen then moved to Northwest Washington where she spent the next fifteen years working as a computer programmer.
Early in this time period, she discovered several pianists who affected her deeply. "The music of Keith Jarrett opened my mind and expanded my horizons in the world of improvisation. But it was the simple, lyrical lines of George Winston that changed my life and got me started on my path of piano composition. Liz Story’s music was inspirational as well, and her presence as a successful woman pianist-composer provided me with an invaluable role model." The first fruit of this musical exploration was Karen’s 1987 cassette release, Turquoise Flame.
In 1990 her piece, "Remembering" was selected as a winner in the Songwriter's and Musician's Foundation song contest, and in 1994 her piece, "Summer Rain" was featured on a seamless connection, a compilation album of top Northwest Washington songwriters. In 1998 and 1999, three of Karen’s pieces were choreographed by Penelope Coberly Lagios of Bellingham’s Dance Gallery, and were performed live in concert with the dancers. In 2001, Karen collaborated with cellist Janet Peterson of Motherlode to create music for a local production of The Vagina Monologues. In 2002, Karen’s piece “Lullaby” was released by Spring Hill Music on The HeartAid Project, a 9/11 solo piano benefit compilation.
Karen's love of music has also involved her deeply with singing. She has worked with choral groups both large and small in the capacities of director, arranger, and singer, as well as accompanist. She was a co-founder of the dynamic 85-member Kulshan Chorus, and her gospel, country, and jazz piano arrangements dazzled Bellingham audiences for ten years. Karen currently performs with the vocal ensemble, Calyx, and her piano work appears on their 2006 release, Sweet Life.
Karen is also experienced in accompanying solo performers, and her playing is featured on folk singer-songwriter Linda Allen's 1991 release, Washington Notebook. Recently, Karen’s music has begun to find its way into film and television, including The Oprah Winfrey Show and Best Week Ever, as well as background music for numerous promotional videos and web sites. She can be heard on a number of Internet broadcasts, including the popular Whisperings Solo Piano Radio show. With her second solo CD, Cascade, in the planning stages, Karen FitzGerald is poised for further expansion in her musical career.
As Chris Lunn of the Victory Music Review says, “Here is modern, original solo piano ~ clean and crisp at its most lyrical, warm sense... Very fine piano and composition by a woman who should have national stature.” Discography: Solo projects: Turquoise Flame (cassette) – 1987 Heart of the Rain – 1999 Side musician: Washington Notebook – Linda Allen – 1989 Wake Up in the Moonlight Singing – Equinox – 1998 Sweet Life – Equinox & Calyx – 2006 Compilations: A Seamless Connection – 1994 The HeartAid Project – 2002 Voices of the Water – 2002 Relaxing Piano Artists for Alzheimer's Research – 2009 Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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