About Karen

Karen with Pino
[Photo by Christian Steiner]

An alumna of New York's Brearley School and Smith College (from which institution she graduated magna cum laude), and, as a Fulbright Scholar, the University of Rome, lifelong champion of the Performing Arts, Karen Kriendler Nelson has dedicated her career to safeguarding the timeless traditions of the Art of Song.

Since founding KKN Enterprises in March 1993, Karen has represented a diverse roster of artists, including some of the industry's most acclaimed singers and conductors.  Additionally, she shares her expertise with numerous arts and Arts organizations, in both formal and informal capacities.

Karen's professional experience encompasses an array of leadership roles with some of America's most noteworthy organizations.  In addition to serving of the Board of Directors of the Girl Scouts of America, she was a founding Board member of the non-profit foundation A Sense of Wirth, now called The First Step Center for Deaf and Deaf-Blind Children, Inc., an institution dedicated to awareness and support for the parents of deaf children. In 2016, her career-long dedication to furthering the cause of opera in the USA was recognized by an invitation to join OPERA America's National Opera Center Facilities Board.

Focusing her talents on the Performing Arts, she was a founding member and Chairman of the Young Friends of City Center, a fundraising initiative for City Center that supported the New York City Opera, New York City Ballet, The John A. Houseman Acting Company, and Joffrey Ballet.  With her aid, the Young Friends of City Center sponsored annual benefits for the constituent companies.

From March 1975 until February 1994, Karen served as Executive Director of the Richard Tucker Music Foundation, for which she was the Coordinator and Associate Producer of eighteen RTMF Galas, as well as their PBS telecasts and intermission features. She organized and supervised the annual RTMF vocal competitions and served as Co-Producer and Assistant Curator of The Richard Tucker Retrospective, an exhibition at the Museo Teatrale alla Scala in Milan.  In conjunction with the exhibit, she was the RTMF's representative at a major press conference, at which she also served as translator for remarks by Renata Tebaldi.

Karen was later Program Director for ARIA throughout its decade-long existence (1995 - 2004).  Under the auspices of the Thomas Foundation, ARIA annually awarded three talented American singers with cash prizes of $15,000 each. In addition to her work with the RTMF and ARIA, she has also spearheaded special Public Relations projects for the Dallas Opera, Opera Colorado, and Ghostlight Records.

In her role as a producer, she has facilitated Masterclasses at various conservatories with an extraordinary array of celebrated singers including Martina Arroyo, Franco Corelli, Marilyn Horne, Evelyn Lear, Robert Merrill, Sherrill Milnes, Leontyne Price, Leonie Rysanek, Rita Shane, Thomas Stewart, Gabriella Tucci, and Deborah Voigt.  She was also the Assistant Producer of the Bob Hope at Lincoln Center television special.

Throughout her career, Karen has shared her love and knowledge of and passion for the Performing Arts by mentoring young artists. She further expanded her engagement with today's Arts scene via her membership on the Advisory Board of Ars Minerva, an exciting venture that resurrects forgotten gems of Baroque music composed for the annual Venetian Carnevale, many of which have not been heard since the era of their creation. She also served as artistic consultant for The Master, an operatic collaboration between Italian composer Alberto Caruso and Irish novelist/librettist Colm Tóibín.

The most important roles in Karen's repertoire are those of proud mother to two sons and adoring grandmother to a college-bound granddaughter.

Karen with mezzo-soprano Vivica Genaux in Rome, April 2009
[Photo from private collection]

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New York, NY  10023

[Updated 30 June 2022]