Karen Nelson grew up in Riverside, California. During her high school and college years at UC Riverside, she played with the Riverside Symphony, Redlands Bowl Orchestra and University of Redlands Orchestra.
During her undergraduate years, Karen attended a study program in Göttingen Germany and played with the University Symphony. During those years she met fellow student Jim Wimmer who asked to borrow her violin for closer inspection, and that led to Jim’s extensive apprenticeship with violin makers in Germany.
Since moving to the Central Coast in 1983, Karen played with the Ventura County Symphony and Santa Barbara Civic Light Opera.
In 1990 Karen received a Master’s degree in education from USCB. She has taught bilingual and special education in the public schools for many years.
Karen joined CHICO when it was founded in 1993. She also enjoys participating in weekly services with her church band, and fiddling with Irish musician friends.