Areas of Expertise

  • Violin Performance and String Pedagogy

  • Beginning to Advanced String Ensemble Instruction

  • Youth Symphony Conducting

Professional Background

Karen Palmer, violinist, music director, and conductor received a bachelor's degree in Music Education from Pacific Union College and a Master of Music degree in Violin Performance from the University of Redlands. Mrs. Palmer has performed as first violinist with Opera Pacific, San Bernardino Symphony Orchestra, Riverside County Philharmonic, and Neumark Ensemble. She has experienced great seasons and performances with Maestros Jon Robertson, John DeMain, John Williams, Dennis de Coteau, Leonard Bernstein, Leonard Slakin, David Romadonoff, Harold Farberman, and Stephen Tucker. Mrs. Palmer's responsibilities at the University of Redlands School of Music included directing the Civic Orchestra, School of Music Summer Music Camp Orchestras and Redlands Symphony Orchestra. Since 1993, she held the position of Music Director and Conductor of the Community School of Music and the Arts (CSMA) Youth Ensemble of Strings (YES) and founded, in 1996, Virtuosi in Progress (VIP), and Youth Symphony Orchestra. Mrs. Palmer developed and organized the CSMA Summer Workshops for thirteen years, and conducted the Youth Symphony Orchestra, teaching conducting and offering classes for Preparatory Strings, Chamber Orchestra, and Youth Symphony for Woodwinds, Brass, and Percussion. She also taught violin and directed Prelude and Attacca ensembles for the Claremont Community School of Music and Inland Valley Youth Symphony.

Mrs. Palmer also served the San Bernardino County Music Educators' Association as Guest Conductor for the 2009 high school Honor Orchestra at the University of Redlands. Since 2006, she maintains the position of String Orchestra Adjudicator for the Rialto USD annual Orchestra Festivals. Currently, Mrs. Palmer is Music Director of Orchestral Strings at MESA High School, in Murrieta, CA, tenured first violinist with the Redlands Symphony Orchestra and Artist Teacher of Violin at the University of Redlands. She is a member of the School of Music Faculty Chamber Ensemble and was recorded performing live at Los Angeles Museum of the Arts (LAMA) in a recent recording of "chants and hymns of voices ephemeral" (2003) by School of Music composer Anthony Suter. Mrs. Palmer maintains an active private and chamber music studio.

Courses Taught at Redlands

  • Applied Violin

  • String Instrument Techniques

Degrees Held

  • B.M., Pacific Union College, 1984

  • M.M., University of Redlands, 1994

Previous Teaching Experience

  • Claremont Community School - String Orchestra Conductor, Violin Instructor, 2006-07

  • University of Redlands School of Music Summer Workshop - Orchestra Conductor, 1993-1996

  • Redlands Bowl Summer Music Class - Introduction to String Instruments, 1992

Previous Relevant Work Experience

  • Inland Valley Youth Symphony Music Director and Conductor, 2011-present

  • Rialto Unified School District String Festival Clinician, 2008-11

  • University of Redlands CSMA String Ensembles and Youth Symphony Director and Conductor, 1993-present

  • Inland Empire Southern California Young Artist Symphony Orchestra Conductor, 1999

  • Redlands Unified School District – String Specialist, 1991-1995

  • University of Redlands Civic Orchestra Conductor, 1991-1994

Major awards

  • San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools and San Bernardino County Music Educators Association – Outstanding High School Honor Orchestra Conductor Award, 2007

  • Who's Who in Music 2006, 1978

  • Outstanding Instruction and Leadership Award – Youth Ensemble of Strings (YES), 1994, 2002, 2006

  • School of Music Director's Award for Outstanding Service and Leadership to the University of Redlands, School of Music, 1993

  • University of Redlands, School of Music President's Honor Recital Award, 1992

Significant Presentations

  • CSMA Youth Symphony Showcase Concerts – 2002 – Present
    Showcased outstanding soloist in the University of Redlands School of Music/CSMA Programs

  • Identifying and preparing students for our University of Redlands School of Music programs

  • Inland Valley Youth Symphony, Young Artist Concert

Professional Affiliations

  • Musicians Local 47- Professional Musicians Union

  • ASTA