Admired for her “luscious melodies” (New York Concert Review) and enlightened programming, violinist Karla Donehew Pérez is a founding member of the GRAMMY-winning Catalyst Quartet as well as an acclaimed soloist, educator, and creative collaborator with numerous world-class artists and ensembles. Among her many honors, she has earned top prizes in the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition and the Sphinx Competition. She is currently a professor of violin studies at the Longy School of Music of Bard College.
With the Catalyst Quartet, Donehew Pérez has toured widely in the U.S. and abroad. Their recording projects include Uncovered, a series highlighting historically important Black composers, and the 2017 GRAMMY-winning album Dreams and Daggers with Cecile McLorin Salvant. The quartet is currently Ensemble-in-Residence at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. As a soloist, Donehew Perez has appeared with the Berkeley Symphony, Sacramento Philharmonic, San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony, Bogotá Philharmonic Orchestra, Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra, New World Symphony, and Sphinx Symphony and Chamber Orchestras, among others. As a chamber musician, she has performed with ensembles including Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and East Coast Chamber Orchestra (ECCO), and collaborated with such artists as Joshua Bell, Anthony McGill and Fredericka Von Stade. She has served as guest concertmaster at the Tucson Symphony and spent two years as a fellow at the New World Symphony.
An avid teacher and mentor, Donehew Pérez has taken part in residencies and masterclasses Kennedy Center, New York Philharmonic, and multiple collegiate music programs. She also performs at numerous major music festivals. Besides her Catalyst Quartet recordings, Donehew Pérez performs on Strum (Azica Records), a collection of works by Jessie Montgomery; and Bandoneón y Cuerdas, a collaborative album with JP Jofre. She recently recorded the solo violin music for Mosaic, a method anthology highlighting artists from underrepresented communities.
Born in Puerto Rico, Donehew Pérez earned Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music.
I was very fortunate to have incredibly dedicated mentors through-out my training and it is my wish to have the same effect on my own students. I have come to realize that a career in music is much more than playing, so in addition to creating a supportive environment, I would also guide my students through the entrepreneurial aspects of our industry and help them find their strengths in the music world both musically and professionally.