Karen Kness



Known for her spinning legato, immaculate vocal line and strong connection to text, soprano Karen Kness has performed throughout the United States as a recitalist and concert soloist.  Her repertoire includes Vaughan Williams’ Serenade to Music, Mozart’s Great Mass in C Minor, Bach’s St. Matthew Passion and St. Johannes Passion, Vaughn Williams’ Hodie, Haydn’s Creation, Faure’s Requiem, John Rutter’s Magnificat, Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem and Handel’s Solomon. 

At home on both operatic and concert stages, Dr. Kness’ opera roles include: Queen of the Night in The Magic Flute, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, Monica in The Medium, Lucy Honeychurch in the Midwest premier of A Room with a View, Madame Herz in Der Schauspieldirektor, and Miss Titmouse in Edwin Penhorwood’s Too Many Sopranos.   She has been a soloist with numerous orchestras, including the Omaha Symphony Chamber Orchestra, Lincoln Symphony, the Mozart Festival Orchestra in Indianapolis, the Heartland Philharmonic Orchestra, Kalamazoo Symphony, and the Bethany Messiah Festival Orchestra the Opera Maya Festival Orchestra and the Symphonic Orchestra of Quintana Roo in Mexico.

She also served for two years as the featured soloist for the Bach chamber ensemble Collegium Musicum Concordia, and has placed in numerous vocal competitions including NATS, the Soli Deo Gloria Cantorum Vocal Competition in Omaha, and the Vera Scammon Vocal Competition in Denver.

Currently an assistant professor of voice at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan, she also served on the faculties at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and at Doane College. She is also a member of the voice faculty of the Opera Maya Summer Festival in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and Opera Oasis Young Artist Program in Sarasota, Florida. She holds a doctoral degree in vocal performance and literature from Indiana University, and bachelor and master of music degrees from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln.

Press Materials

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…the undoubted queen of the show was the Queen of the Night herself, played by Karen Kness.  Though she only had two arias, they are among the most difficult in opera repertoire and she executed them with almost superhuman skill.

Adam Sedia, Indiana Daily Student
Magic Flute – Mozart

The incandescent “Amen” at the close made one’s flesh tingle. Karen Kness stood out for her incredible note accuracy and clarity of tone.  Her “Rejoice Greatly” and “I Know My Redeemer Liveth” were breathtaking.

C.J. Gianakaris, Kalamazoo Gazette
Messiah – Handel


Her vocal production and communication abilities are warm and personal, yet were strong enough Sunday to balance with the 250-voice chorus for the “You now are sorrowful” section.

John Cutler, Lincoln Journal Star
A German Requiem – Brahms


Just as astounding were the voices of Donna Anna and Zerlina., played respectively by Karen Kness and Tamara Ashley. Kness has a broad, warm voice with a well controlled vibrato, showing good experience…

John Cutler, Lincoln Journal Star
Don Giovanni – Mozart


Karen Kness as Lucy Honeychurch becomes a strong lead through her reserve an restraint. Her vocal qualities were well matched to botyh Steve Kohtz in the role of prim-and-proper Cecil Vyse, Lucy’s fiancé and Kenneth Floyd as George Emerson, her ultimate lover.

John Cutler, Lincoln Journal Star
Room with a View – Nelson


Kness brought an appealing purity nd intensity to her singing, particularly in her spellbinding take on “To and Aeolian Harp.”

Kyle Macmillan, Omaha World-Herald
Hugo Wolf Symposium

For a COMPLETE listing of: Repertoire|Resume|Reviews – Download the Media Kit


Depuis le jour

Charpentier – Louise

Artist in Action

Karen Kness in Performance