Karen BeckerProfessor of Cello
Area of Focus: Strings
MM in Cello Performance, University of Texas at Austin
DMA in Cello Performance, University of Texas at Austin
Cellist Karen Becker is an active soloist and avid chamber player. She has performed throughout the United States as well as in Europe and Mexico. Becker is a faculty artist with the Red Lodge Music Festival in Montana as well as the Omaha Conservatory of Music Institute. She has served on the faculty of the Ameropa Chamber Music Festival in Praque (Czech Republic) where she performed in a series of concerts in various venues throughout the city such as the prestigious Suk Hall at the Rudolfinum, Martinu Hall at the Academy of Music, and the Hall of Mirrors at the Klementinum.
She has recorded for several PBS documentaries and with several bands, including Bright Eyes. She tours regularly as a soloist and chamber player and is a member of the Concordia String Trio (CST) with violinist Marcia Henry-Liebenow and violist Leslie Perna. Centaur Records released CST’s CD Viennese String Trios in August of this year and another CD, American Vistas, will be released in 2018. She is a former member of Trio Nuovo and the Omega String Quartet, and served as principal cellist of both the Melkus Ensemble and the International String Orchestra. She has appeared as soloist and principal cellist with the Texas Cello Choir at national conventions as well as on “Front Row Center,” a Texas Public Television program.
In October 2017 Becker will give the California premiere of Laurence Sherr’s Sonata for Cello and Piano: Mir Zaynen Do! in Los Angeles as part of Daniel Pearl World Music Days. In January 2015 she gave the world premiere of the same sonata in Kimball Recital Hall (the University of Nebraska). Six months later, the Montana premiere took place which was then aired on American Public Media’s Performance Today in 2017.
Becker is a past president of both the Nebraska and Missouri chapters of the American String Teachers Association (ASTA). She has presented at numerous ASTA National Conferences including Atlanta, Georgia, Kansas City, Missouri, Reno, Nevada, Providence, Rhode Island, and Salt Lake City, Utah. Becker has been part of the planning committee for ASTA National Conventions and has served on the organization’s committees at the national level. In February 2005 she received the Citation for Leadership & Merit from ASTA.
As a conductor, Becker directed the Junior Youth Orchestra (through Lincoln Public Schools) for eight years. She has conducted several orchestras in the University of Texas String Project and has appeared as guest conductor/clinician for honors orchestras in Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and North Carolina. She continues to serve as clinician and guest conductor for high school orchestras and cello students throughout the United States. In addition, she enjoys teaching in Suzuki workshops throughout the Midwest.
Becker received her Doctor of Musical Arts and Master of Music degrees from the University of Texas at Austin and the Bachelor of Music degree from Ohio University. Her teachers have included her father David Becker, Leighton Conkling, Roger Drinkall, and internationally renowned string pedagogue Phyllis Young. She has served as cello professor on the faculty of Truman State University and as String Project teacher at the University of Texas. Currently, she is Professor of Cello at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, principal cellist of Lincoln’s Symphony Orchestra and director of the University of Nebraska and Lincoln Public Schools String Project. An avid cyclist, she enjoys endurance cycling and participating in century rides.