Karen Follingstad, piano
Karen Follingstad has been Professor of Piano at San Diego State University since 1984 and has been the head of the Piano Department since 2013. She has also taught at Kent State University, the University of Akron, and was artist faculty at the Kent-Blossom Music Festival, where she coached chamber music and performed with principal members of the Cleveland Orchestra.
As a solo recitalist, Dr. Follingstad has performed extensively throughout Europe and North America and has recorded for the Hessische Rundfunk and the Norwegian Radio. She has appeared as soloist with the Minnesota Orchestra, the Blossom Festival Orchestra, the San Diego Chamber Orchestra, and the Bear Valley Music Festival Orchestra, among others. An experienced collaborative pianist, Dr. Follingstad, in partnership with clarinetist Marian Liebowitz, was winner of the United States Information Agency/Kennedy Center Artistic Ambassador Competition, which resulted in a month-long tour of Central and South America. The Duo was also chosen to represent the U.S. at El Salvador's Third Annual Peace Festival in 1998. She has also performed recitals with cellists Yo Yo Ma and Carter Brey, violinists Andrés Cárdenes, Cho-Laing Lin, Eugene Fodor, and others. Ms. Follingstad is a sought-after chamber musician, appearing with the Thouvenel String Quartet, the Arioso Wind Quintet, the Ensemble of Santa Fe, the Miami String Quartet, the Hausmann String Quartet, and the Pacifica String Quartet.
Karen has also participated in numerous prestigious music festivals including the Berkshire Festival at Tanglewood, the La Jolla Chamber Music Society's SummerFest, the Mainly Mozart Festival, and summer festivals in Bear Valley and Marin, California, Sedona, Arizona, and Steamboat Springs, Colorado. From 2012 -2018 she was guest artist and faculty at the Semper International Music Festival (formerly Schlern Festival) in the Dolomites, Italy, held annually in July, and has also served on the Faculty of the Bravo International Festival in San Diego in 2017 and 2018. Most recently, Dr. Follingstad and 4 of her students were invited to the White Nights Piano Festival in Saint Petersburg, Russia, summer 2019. Some of her current and former students have won local and regional competitions, and have been accepted at prestigious graduate programs including Indiana University, University of Michigan, University of Texas in Austin, Mannis and Manhattan Schools of Music, and Eastman and Cornell, among others.
She received her Bachelor’s Degree from Curtis Institute of Music, the Konzertexamen from the Frankfurt Hochschule für Musik, her MM from Indiana University in Bloomington, and her DMA from the University of Texas in Austin. Her major teachers include Paul Freed, Seymour Lipkin, Richard Goode, August Leopolder, Gyorgy Sebok, and Gregory Allen.