Karen Street

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b. 13 December 1959, Wells, Somerset, England. Strikingly accomplished on several instruments, notably accordion (which she began playing at the age of eight), saxophones, clarinet and flute, Street has…
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b. 13 December 1959, Wells, Somerset, England. Strikingly accomplished on several instruments, notably accordion (which she began playing at the age of eight), saxophones, clarinet and flute, Street has wide-ranging musical tastes. She studied music intensively, at Bath University, the Welsh College of Music and Drama, and at London’s Guildhall School of Music. Among her performing credits are several with stage productions, including the Royal Shakespeare Company, and with music ensembles, including the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, the BBC Philharmonic and the Matrix Ensemble with classical baritone Willard White. As an accordionist, in 1981/2 she became British Virtuoso Champion and also competed in world championship events. She has recorded with Steve Argüelles, Elvis Costello, Fairer Sax (an all-female saxophone quartet of which she was a member), Lammas, Ute Lemper, and Mike Westbrook, playing accordion and alto saxophone. With Westbrook, she toured with his Platterback project and has worked with Martha Lewis, Roy Nathanson’s Fire, and the Phil Robson Octet. Street had begun composing while still attending school and later, as a teacher, she wrote music for saxophone beginners. Some of this material has been included on the UK Associated Board syllabus. In addition to developing saxophone choirs, she also is co-leader of Saxtet (a five-saxophone group). For her own-name album debut in 2002 she played accordion with Fred T. Baker (guitar), and Stan Sulzmann (saxophones). A track from this album, ‘In The Ballroom With The Rope’, had previously been awarded first prize in the composition competition at the 2001 London Accordion Festival.