Karen began learning the piano when she was 9 years old and the clarinet 2 years later. She studied at Watford School of Music, learning the clarinet with John Reynolds and the piano with Kay Hazelton and Robert Pell. In 1985, she gained a place at The Royal College of Music to study for a BMus degree. Her clarinet professors were Colin Bradbury and Robert Hill, and she continued to learn the piano with John Blakely. Whilst at the RCM, she developed an interest in contemporary Classical Music and Chamber Music, co-founding The Charivari Wind Quintet, with which she enjoyed a great deal of success both at college and when she graduated, performing at many venues, including The Royal Festival Hall and even 10 Downing Street.
After leaving the RCM, Karen freelanced as an orchestral and chamber musician, whilst developing her teaching career in North London. She taught for Hertfordshire County Music Service, Haberdashers’ Aske’s School for Girls and Channing School, Highgate. Soon after she married in 1993, she moved to Berkshire and has been settled in Wokingham for about twenty years.
© 2020 Karen Ayton
Karen qualified as an examiner for The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) about 3 years ago. This has taken her to many parts of the United Kingdom, and it is her hope to travel abroad once the pandemic is over. She has adjudicated for music competitions at schools such as Queen Elizabeth’s Hospital School, Bristol, and Bearwood College (now Reddam House School, Sindlesham.) The examining work has helped her to improve the results of her own pupils, and she can give extra support with aural and theory tuition. Karen is also an experienced accompanist, especially of wind instruments and, depending on availability, she can be booked to accompany for examinations.
© 2021 Karen Ayton