Karen Dannessa, clarinet
Karen Dannessa, Professor of Clarinet at West Chester University, is an active performer whose playing has been described as “magical..with a full, centered, silky tone..a tour de force.” (The Clarinet; The Texas Monitor). Recent appearances include those at International Clarinet Association conventions, International Double Reed Society conventions, University of Oklahoma Clarinet Symposium, in the Czech Republic, Greece, England and Mexico. She appeared as soloist in the Heraklion Summer Arts Festival in Crete, Greece and is an active freelance clarinetist, performing frequently in area orchestras. She has performed extensively with Duo del Sol, a clarinet and English horn duo with her husband Henry Grabb. Duo del Sol released Windward, a CD on the Centaur label in 2015, and were lauded as “boasting superb chemistry and intonation and for cultivating remarkable and fascinating colors.” (American Record Guide). Their Carnegie Hall recital was reviewed by the New York Concert Review which stated that they played “perfectly in sync and in tune.” Duo del Sol has commissioned and premiered works by composers Jason Haney, Howard Buss, Mark Sforzini, Matthew Herman, Mark Rimple, Katherine Murdock and Daniel Dorff. Dorff’s piece, Hot Spots, was recently premiered in New York City’s Steinway Hall in 2018. Dannessa is also a member of Quintsylvania Winds, the faculty wind quintet at West Chester University, which has performed recitals in Carnegie Hall and Steinway Hall in New York City. A Quintsylvania Winds recording of contemporary works is forthcoming on the Mark label in 2019. Her first recording, American Lyrique, featuring the sonatas of John G.MacKay, Jr., was reviewed as “unique with mature musicality” (The Clarinet) and she has also recorded for the Capstone label. She studied with Frank Kowalsky, Elsa Ludewig-Verdehr, and Joseph Edwards and earned a doctorate in musical performance from Florida State University as well as degrees in woodwind specialty and performance from Michigan State University and music education from Youngstown State University. She served as professor of clarinet at Pittsburg State University and Clarion University for 16 years before joining the faculty of West Chester University of Pennsylvania in 2005. She is an avid reader, loves photography, and writes short stories in her spare time.