Karen Holvik is a classical soprano. She is the daughter of Karl Holvik (1921-2003), clarinetist and conductor, who was Professor of Music at the University of Northern Iowa between 1947 and 1984, and Martha Holvik (1920-2014), violinist, violist, pianist and soprano, who also taught at UNI and founded the UNI Suzuki School in 1976.
Holvik was born in Cedar Falls, Iowa. She gained a Master's Degree and Performer's Certificate in Opera at the Eastman School of Music, and settled in New York City where she continued to build a large repertoire of concert music, oratorio and operatic works. She appeared with Western Opera Theater, Texas Opera Theater, Houston Grand Opera, Opera Illinois, Opera Festival of New Jersey, and Anchorage Opera. Her operatic roles include Susanna, Constanze, Sandrina, Adina, Lucia, Juliette, Micaela, Miss Wordsworth, Tytania and Baby Doe. She has toured extensively in the United States, Western Europe and Canada, singing both popular and classical repertoire.
Ms. Holvik was successful in vocal competitions including the Oratorio Society of New York, the Liederkranz Foundation, the American Opera Auditions, and Joy in Singing, which sponsored her debut recital in Alice Tully Hall. Her debut at Avery Fisher Hall in the Richard Tucker Gala Concert was recorded by RCA Victor Red Seal, and she made her Carnegie Hall debut singing Handel's Messiah with the Masterwork Chorus and Orchestra, David Briskin, conductor.
Having begun her singing life in the world of popular music and jazz, Holvik has been a champion of contemporary American song and opera, and has premiered works by Ricky Ian Gordon, Aaron Kernis, John Musto, James Sellars, Tom Cipullo, Stewart Wallace and Richard Wilson. She appears with William Sharp and pianist Steven Blier on a New York Festival of Song recording released by Koch International Classics called Zipperfly & Other Songs by Marc Blitzstein.
Ms. Holvik studied with John Maloy, Jan DeGaetani, Arleen Auger, and Robert C. White, Jr. She began her teaching career at the University of Missouri, and has subsequently taught at Vassar College, New York University and the Eastman School of Music. She is currently on the voice faculty of the New England Conservatory.