Karen Dreyfus enjoys a wide-ranging career, as a noted orchestral soloist, recitalist and chamber musician, and as a pedagogue. Prized for her impassioned musicianship and her rich mahogany tone, she has inspired a variety of contemporary music’s finest composers to write scores specifically tailored to her communicative talents.
Born into a family of musicians, Dreyfus began studying the violin with her father, a member of the Philadelphia Orchestra, before pursuing a career as a violist under the tutelage of Leonard Mogill. A graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, where she studied with Michael Tree and Karen Tuttle, Dreyfus was subsequently a prizewinner at the Washington, Lionel Tertis, and the Naumburg Viola Competitions.
Karen Dreyfus has performed with the New York Philharmonic, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and Musicians from Marlboro. She has collaborated with such legendary artists as Yehudi Menuhin, Rudolf Serkin, Alexander Schneider, Leon Fleisher, Chick Corea, and her husband, Glenn Dicterow.
Her wide discography includes the Mozart Sinfonia Concertante, Walton’s Viola Concerto, and the chamber music of Dvorak, Strauss and Turina. Chick Corea’s Lyric Suite for Sextet with vibraphonist Gary Burton with quartet was nominated for a Grammy Award as Best Chamber Music Performance. She has recorded two CDs of contemporary viola concertos for the MMC label, including “Concert Variations”, written for Dreyfus and Glenn Dicterow.
In recent decades, Dreyfus has found a particular niche as a teacher. She has served on the faculty of the Juilliard School and the Mannes School and is presently on the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music as well as the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music, where she is Associate Professor of Viola and Director of Chamber Music.
Dreyfus is a founding member of the Lyric Piano Quartet whose initial recording for Black Box Records was nominated as an “Editor’s Choice” by Gramophone Magazine and the Amerigo Trio, touring with both groups. And in her spare time, she has often been a “first call” session player on numerous movie soundtracks, and pop, jazz and rock recordings.
After more than three decades of service as concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic, Glenn Dicterow joins the faculty of the USC Thornton School of Music in 2013 as the first holder of the Robert Mann Chair in Strings and Chamber Music, forging a new chapter in a distinguished, multifaceted career.
Dicterow made his debut in 1960, at age 11, as soloist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto, his New York Philharmonic debut following seven years later, again performing the Tchaikovsky Concerto. He became associate concertmaster of the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 1970, joining his father, Harold Dicterow, the principal second violinist of that orchestra. He rose to the position of concertmaster three years later. Dicterow came to the New York Philharmonic in 1980, serving as concertmaster under four music directors, Zubin Mehta, Kurt Masur, Lorin Maazel, and Alan Gilbert.