Karen Lykes

Karen Lykes


J. Ralph Corbett Distinguished Chair of Opera and Dieterle Chair of Music in memory of George Andreas and Elsa Fishcher Dieterle; Professor of Voice

Dieterle Vocal Arts Cntr


CCM Voice - 0003

Professional Summary

Mezzo-soprano Karen Lykes has performed extensively throughout the United States, Europe, Japan and Central America with orchestras and choral societies such as the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Handel & Haydn Society, New Japan Philharmonic, Shinsei Nihon Symphony, Baltimore Choral Arts Society and the National Chamber Orchestra Society. She has worked with an array of conductors including Kazuyoshi Akiyama, Petr Altrichter, Luciano Berio, Carl St. Clair, Thomas Dunn, Gustav Meier, Seiji Ozawa and Maxim Shostakovich. Her repertoire spans the Baroque to the contemporary, including Bach’s Mass in B minor, Handel’s Messiah, Mozart’s Grand Mass in C minor, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, Berlioz's L’Enfance du Christ, Mahler’s Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen, Rückert Lieder and Symphony No. 4, and Bernstein's Symphony No. 1, “Jeremiah.” Equally at home in musical theatre, she has also performed the works of Gershwin, Kern, Weill/Brecht, Rodgers and Hammerstein and Sondheim in concert.

As a member of the American VocalArts Quintet, Lykes won 2nd Prize in the Concert Artists Guild International Competition. She has been a finalist in the New England Regional Metropolitan Opera Auditions, the recipient of a Vocal Fellowship to the Tanglewood Music Center, and the winner of the Franz Schubert Prize for Excellence in Interpretation of the Lied in Austria. An active recitalist, she has presented concerts throughout the United States, Costa Rica and Japan, as well as for The American Schubert Institute. Her recordings include the vocal chamber music of Brahms, Massenet, Schumann and Boulanger for Titanic Records with the American VocalArts Quintet, and songs of Charles Ives for Koch International Classics with the Detroit Chamber Winds.

Lykes’ students have performed with Chanticleer, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony, The Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Covent Garden, Bayerische Staatsoper, Glyndebourne Opera, Aix-en-Provence Festival, Santa Fe Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Dallas Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Minnesota Opera, at Carnegie Hall and on the BBC Proms. Her students have been recipients of the Marian Anderson Vocal Award, Sara Tucker and Richard F. Gold Study Grants, Sullivan Fdtn. Awards, prize-winners in the Operalia Competition, HGO's Eleanor McCollum Competition, Lotte Lenya Competition, Gerda Lissner Internat'l. Vocal Competition, Licia Albanese Internat'l. Vocal Competition, George London Fdtn. Vocal Competition, Dallas Opera Guild Competition, and a finalist on NBC's The Voice.

Her studio is represented on and off-Broadway and in national tours of Hamilton, ParadeMean Girls, Bright Star, Cabaret, Dear Evan Hansen, The Book of Mormon, Les Misérables, Cinderella, Kinky Boots, PippinNatasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812, Beautiful, Wicked, The Lion King, The Light in the Piazza, The Scottsboro Boys, Urinetown, Follies, Little Women, The Full Monty, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and in the 25th Anniversary Tour of Mamma Mia!. Her students have been nominated for the Tony Award for Outstanding Actor and Actress in a Musical, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Awards, and the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Achievement Off-Broadway.

Prior to joining the faculty at CCM, Lykes was a member of the voice faculties at NYU and the University of Michigan.  She has served as a master teacher for the Glimmerglass Young American Artist Program and Bel Canto Northwest.


MM: Boston University

BM: University of Maryland

(Additional study at the Franz-Schubert-Institut, Austria.)