Karen was born and bred in Lower Hutt. She studied flute performance at Victoria University with Alexa Still, graduating with a Bachelor of Music with Honours. Karen went on to study at the State University of New York, obtaining a Master of Music degree.
Upon returning to Wellington, Karen has developed a varied freelance career. She works as an orchestral musician for the Vector Wellington Orchestra and occasionally the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. Karen has also taught extensively throughout the region and continues to teach privately and at one high school.
Chamber music is a passion for Karen. She is a founding member of the flute, clarinet and piano ensemble “ETHOS”. The ensemble has toured for Chamber Music New Zealand and commissioned works from New Zealand composers. Karen was also involved in Helen Fisher's project of recording and performing her work The Wheel Turns. This was released as a CD by Atoll Records entitled Taku Wana - The Enduring Spirit.