Karen Parks received her Bachelor of Music
in Vocal Performance from Furman University, where she now
serves on the Presidential Advisory Council, and a
Master of Music in Vocal Performance from the
University of Texas at Austin. While pursuing a Doctorate
of Musical Arts in Vocal Performance and Vocal
Pedagogy from the University of California at Santa
Barbara, Ms. Parks was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship for
Voice, which enabled her to study exclusively with Maestro
Gabriele Pisani at the prestigious La Scala Opera House in
Milan, Italy. She was asked to join the San Francisco Opera,
touring the role of MicaŽla in Bizet’s
Carmen and also invited to perform the role
of Nedda in Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci for three seasons in the Castle at The
Savonlinna Opera Festival in Savonlinna, Finland.
Ms. Parks has performed in
major opera houses and concert halls in many European
countries including Italy, Spain, Germany, Austria, England,
France, Switzerland, Denmark, Russia, Sweden, Finland, Hungary and Estonia.
Her performances in America include debuts with
recognized orchestras and conductors including Carnegie
Recital Hall, Alice Tully Hall, The Kennedy Center,
Meyerson Hall, San Francisco Opera and The Boston Pops.
Other roles and works with various companies and orchestras
include Verdi’s Requiem, Faurťís Requiem, Ralph Vaughan Williamsí Dona Nobis Pacem, Beethoven’s
Ninth Symphony, Mahler’s Second Symphony, DvořŠk’s
Te Deum, Bach’s Magnificat, Handel’s
Mařenka in Smetana’s The Bartered Brideand the role of
Harriet Tubman in two different operas (Harriet
and Frederick Douglass). By special commission, she was the first artist
to record an English language album (Nocturne) of Finnish classical music from Finnish
Ms. Parks’ chamber
include appearances at the Next
Generation Festival in Pennsylvania
where she sang The
Romance Suite by Dmitri Shostakovich
(in Russian). She also performed Osvaldo Golijov’s
Lúa Descolorida and the
Mozart concert aria Ch'io mi scordi di te?
Non temer amato bene as well as Antonio
Vivaldi's Domine Deus, Six Elizabethan Songs and
To Be Sung Upon the Water
by Dominick Argento. Her performance repertoire also
includes Mark Biggam's Three Songs on Love
and Death and Schubert’s Der Hirt auf dem Felsen, sung on several
In addition to being a Fulbright scholar,
Ms. Parks is also a member of Phi Kappa Phi national
academic honor society, Mu Phi Epsilon and NATS. She is the
recipient of the Cadeau Foundation Grant, which she used
for study with renowned soprano Renata Scotto. Having won
the Puccini Competition, Ms. Parks was granted a New York
City performance at Alice Tully Hall and mentored by the
great soprano, Licia Albanese, for many years.
Ms. Parks has also
graced the London theater stage, making her debut as Cindy
Lou (MicaŽla) in the West End production of
Carmen Jones, Oscar
Hammerstein’s reworking of Bizet’s opera
Carmen. Her performance in that
production resulted in the nomination for an Olivier Award.
She sang the world premiere of Heikki Sarmanto's
Perfect Harmony, which was televised and aired
internationally. Her notable recordings include
Nobody Knows: Songs of Harry T. Burleigh, which
she launched with a national tour following its debut at
#2 on the Billboard Charts (classical), Journeys of
the Heart, Nocturne, and
Spiritually Yours: A Private Collection,
Song of America on Thirty Tigers, Carmen
Jones on EMI, Perfect Harmony
on Time Warner, Opera Ebony Sings Spirituals
on Ebony Classics Records, Symphony of Spirituals
on Naxos Records, Handel’s Messiah
, and I Hear Music In The Air.
A sought after vocal instructor, Ms. Parks
Master Classes internationally and serves on the voice faculty at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. She established Ottimavoce, Inc. (a production
and recording company) and also operates The Studio for
(a private voice studio) with clients worldwide.
Karen is President and CEO of Stagebound, Inc., which presents Vocal Intensives/Workshops, seminars and produces professional performances.
Ms. Parks has taught at both
the university level and at a performing arts magnet high school.
She has performed in twelve languages and continues to
perform worldwide. Her most recent performances include solo recitals at the world
renowned Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria as well as
performances in Milan, Italy, New York City
and Perm, Russia marking the 75th anniversary of
In the US, Ms. Parks is one of two
National Panelists for YoungArts in the classical vocal
division and was Master Teacher for the first regional program (YoungArts Miami).
is the core program of the National Foundation for
Advancement in the Arts (NFAA), which recognizes and supports
America's most talented high school artists in the visual,
literary and performing arts and includes nominating future Presidential Scholars in the Arts.