Karen Kness

Photo of Karen Kness
Karen Kness
Associate Professor, Voice
(269) 387-4667
(269) 387-1113
1422 Dalton Center, Mail Stop 5434
Mailing address: 
Irving S. Gilmore School of Music
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5434 USA
  • D.M.A., Indiana University
  • M.M., University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • B.A., University of Nebraska-Lincoln


Soprano Karen Kness received her Doctor of Music degree in vocal performance and literature from Indiana University and her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in vocal performance from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Before coming to Western Michigan University, she served on the faculties at the University of Nebraska–Omaha and Doane College, where she also served as an adjudicator and clinician for various master classes and workshops. At Indiana, she served as coordinator for the Department of Secondary Voice and was an associate instructor. She is a member of the faculty and a performer for Opera Maya, a summer opera workshop in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.

Kness has performed throughout the Midwest as a regular concert and oratorio soloist. Recently performed repertoire includes Mozart's Great Mass in C Minor, Bach's St. Matthew Passion and St. Johannes Passion, Vaughn Williams' Hodie, Haydn's Creation, Faure's Requiem, John Rutter's Magnificat, Brahms' Ein Deutsches Requiem and Handel's Solomon. At home on both operatic and concert stages, Kness' opera roles include: Queen of the Night inThe Magic Flute, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, Monica in The Medium, Lucy Honeychurch in the Midwest premier of A Room with a View, Madame Herz inDer Schauspieldirektor and Miss Titmouse in Edwin Penhorwood's Too Many Sopranos. She has been a soloist with numerous orchestras, including the Omaha Symphony Chamber Orchestra, Lincoln Symphony, the Mozart Festival Orchestra in Indianapolis, the Heartland Philharmonic Orchestra and the Bethany Messiah Festival Orchestra. Kness also served for two years as the featured soloist for the Bach chamber ensemble Collegium Musicum Concordia, and has placed in various vocal competitions including NATS, the Soli Deo Gloria Cantorum Vocal Competition in Omaha and the Vera Scammon Vocal Competition in Denver.