Karen Oberlin

Mabel Mercer Foundation's Donald F. Smith Award

Nightlife Award for Jazz Vocalist of the Year

Multiple Mac Awards: Best Album and Best Duo Show

Bistro Award Winner, Vocalist of the Year


"Oberlin has impeccable style (and) musical intelligence" -- Stephen Holden, The New York Times

"Thrilling... Karen Oberlin is such a welcome addition to the often noisy and pointless cabaret scene that one can even imagine her accompanied by a celesta without causing the slightest hint of boredom" - Rex Reed, New York Observer

"Oberlin proves herself to be not just a fine singer but also a bold actor."" -- Mark Dundas Wood, BistroAwards.com

"Her voice warms like melting butter to infuse her love songs with emotion and passion." -- Elizabeth Ahlfors, Cabaret Scenes Magazine


Biography

"Telling the story, both musically and lyrically, is what I find most exciting and galvanizing as a performer," Karen Oberlin was quoted saying in an interview. Hailed as one of premier interpreters of the Great American Songbook by both the New York Times and London's Classical Source, Oberlin was deeply honored to receive, in 2013, both the Mabel Mercer Foundation's most prestigious Donald F. Smith Award and an Honorary Doctorate in Music from Dix Hills Performing Arts Center/Five Towns College. Previously a winner of Nightlife Award for Jazz Vocalist of the Year and also Bistro and MAC Awards, Karen Oberlin returns to London's most exquisite cabaret club, the Crazy Coqs at Brasserie Zedel, for her third consecutive year in late 2014. In one of her numerous raves in the New York Times, Stephen Holden said, "Beyond having a pretty voice, poise and interpretive insight... Ms. Oberlin has impeccable classic pop style (and) musical intelligence." Rex Reed, in the New York Observer, called her performance "thrilling," and continued, "Oberlin is as lovely to look at as she is to hear -- subtle, elegant and musically spot on. She's a keeper!" The music critic, David Yaffe, says Ms. Oberlin "reaches into the minds and muses of our golden repertoire to teach us, dazzle us, and send us to a Tin Pan Alley nirvana, as deep as the ocean and high as the sky. She is truly a marvel."

Along with three weeks at the legendary Oak Room at the Algonquin, Oberlin has had headlining nightclub engagements at clubs such as the Cafe Carlyle, 54 Below, Birdland, Feinstein's, Iridium, Kitano and the Metropolitan Room and has performed in concert halls in New York including Carnegie Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center and the Town Hall. Nationally, she has performed at Caramoor, Guild Hall in the Hamptons, The Ordway Theatre in St. Paul, The Prince Theatre in Philadelphia, and the Royal Room at the Colony Palm Beach, to name a few. She has four critically-acclaimed recordings on the Miranda Music label, including "Secret Love: The Music of Doris Day," a live recording at the Algonquin's Oak Room, and a new duo CD with virtuosic guitarist Sean Harkness. She can be heard on a number of compilations, including the newly discovered musical by Duke Ellington and Herb Martin, "Renaissance Man," in the all-star CD version, "Secret Ellington" (True Life), which featured Joe Lovano, Grover Washington, Jr., and Freddy Cole, among others.

Ms. Oberlin appeared in more than 100 Off-Broadway performances of the smash-hit show "Our Sinatra," and has performed her own shows nationally and abroad. She had the honor of being part of the first-ever Cabaret Conventions in both Philadelphia and the Hamptons and has performed in the New York shows at both Jazz at Lincoln Center and at The Town Hall, where she was also featured in the Broadway By The Year series. Along with playing Maureen in the first staged incarnation of the now-legendary Broadway show, "Rent," Ms. Oberlin has also held lead roles at such prestigious theatres as the North Carolina Theatre, the Palace Theatre in Louisville, among others. She has appeared as a professional actress in everything from Shakespeare to national commercials, including playing a recurring nurse on "All My Children" and can been seen in both independent and feature films. She also enjoyed being part of a professional a cappella group called "Where's The Band?" for many years.

Ms. Oberlin has a deep background in classical music, jazz, cabaret, theater and musical theater. The granddaughter of Vaudevillians and the youngest daughter of two classical musicians, she performed steadily as a child in theater, musical and otherwise, growing up in Central New York. As a child she played piano and flute, and cello in the county orchestra, performed in her first role on stage in an opera at age six, and as a teen was a member of a few local rock and new-wave bands. Since then she has performed continuously and trained extensively, graduating from the Circle In The Square Professional Workshop Broadway theatre conservatory in New York after receiving her B.A. in English Literature. New York City led Ms. Oberlin to cabaret and jazz and deepened her appreciation for the Great American Songbook and great songs of all kinds. She has studied voice for more than twenty years, and she teaches master classes in acting, singing and interpreting song, and has mentored and directed a number of aspiring song interpreters, as she is deeply committed to the future of the art of song interpretation. Ms. Oberlin is a dedicated yogi, a very happy mother (to Nate Hajdu) and stepmother, and is married to the writer and Columbia University professor David Hajdu.

Calendar

Upcoming

2016


Friday & Saturday, February 19 & 20, 8 PM

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His Aim Is True: The Singular Songs Of Elvis Costello

Karen Oberlin has been a fan of Elvis Costello since her early teens living in Syracuse, when his young angst, disillusionment and vulnerable heart seemed perfectly in synch with her own. For her new show, Karen brings forth a collection of material from more 30 years of following his eclectic, fascinating career to express some of the most intriguing elements of this unique singer/songwriter's work and life.

"Karen Oberlin's extensively researched, beautifully executed tribute to the music of Elvis Costello... is a major leap forward into full-scale noir, an artistic demimonde that she illuminates with a dark blue glow." -- Stephen Holden, the New York Times

"Oberlin here proves herself to be not just a fine singer but also a bold actor - and one who recognizes the power of nuance." -- Mark Dundas Wood, BackStageAwards.com

The Red House Mainstage Theatre of Syracuse, NY
Tickets: $15-$25
For information and tickets
Plus Master Class for students on Saturday

Sunday, February 22, All Day

Karen Oberlin and the Attractives (Tedd Firth, Steve "NIEVE" Doyle and Sean Harkness) head into a full day of recording at SUBCAT STUDIOS We're counting on the snow blowing by outside as we warm to the red hot record we'll be making in the state-of-the-art studio of SubCat!

Saturday, March 5, 7:30 PM

Secret Love: The Life and Songs of Doris Day

Bridgehampton Museum Archive
Bridgehampton, NY

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Wednesday, June 29, 7PM

Brand New Karen Oberlin Show Opening

DETAILS TBA SOON

METROPOLITAN ROOM
W. 22ND ST.
212-206-0440

With following Dates: July 20, September 14, and October 20th
(All shows start at 7 PM except October's show will follow the Cabaret Convention and will start at 9:30)

Tuesday - Saturday, July 5 - 9, 7:30PM

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Karen In London

Karen's Annual Return to Crazy Coqs Cabaret

Brasserie Zedel
Piccadilly Circus, London, UK

For information and tickets

Past Events

2016


Saturday, January 16th, 7:30 PM

Jazz, Broadway and Beyond

Presented by Civic Morning Musicals & Le Moyne College's Department of Visual and Performing Arts. Concerto Competition winners Debra Barsha, piano; Chris Grasso, piano; Jeff Lawlis, piano, and Karen Oberlin, vocalist

Wednesday, January 13th, 7PM

Heart and Soul: The Songs of Frank Loesser

Cabaret's Greatest Hits continues:
Karen Oberlin and Jon Weber bring their show with which they spent three weeks at the Oak Room at the Algonquin Hotel, then two weeks in Palm Beach at the Royal Room and beyond, finally, to:

Metropolitan Room
34 West 22nd St., NYC (between 5th & 6th Aves)
212.206.0440
Ticket Prices $25-$115 /2-drink minimum
For information and tickets

Sunday, January 3rd, 12:30 PM

Everything Old is New Again with David Kenney

David Hajdu songs sung by Karen Oberlin, and much more

Metropolitan Room
34 West 22nd St., NYC (between 5th & 6th Aves)
212.206.0440
For information and tickets

2015


Thursday, December 17, 6pm

Sisters In Strayhorn: Celebrating 100 Years

The Billy Strayhorn Foundation celebrates his 100th year on December 17th with two celebrated singers who have been performing the Strayhorn catalogue for many years. Here, Tammy McCann and Karen Oberlin join forces with the Tedd Firth trio to bring to BIRDLAND JAZZ CLUB audiences the varied, exquisite songs of this brilliant songwriter, following what would have been his 100th birthday. As special guest speaker, Billy Strayhorn biographer David Hajdu will join them to speak about Strayhorn's life and work.

For information and tickets or call: 212-581-3080
Tickets: $25

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Wednesday, December 2nd, 7 PM

Any Wednesday Sings Again

Bart Greenberg's legendary Barnes & Noble cabaret series returns with an all-star cast for opening night of the URBAN STAGES WINTER RHYTHMS FESTIVAL 2015 -- champagne toast with cast members directly following performance!

Urban Stages, 259 West 30th St., NYC
For information and tickets or call: 866-811-4111
Tickets: $25

Sunday, November 29th, 9:30 PM

A New York Holiday With Miranda Music

Celebrating the release of their new holiday album with the amazing talent pool at Miranda Music.

Metropolitan Room, W. 22nd St. (between 5th & 6th Aves), NYC
For information and tickets or call: 212-206-0440
$20 Cover/2-drink minimum

Sunday, November 29th, 7 PM

Take The A Train: Billy Strayhorn's 100th Birthday

with Peter and Will Anderson, their quintet and special guests, including David Hajdu

Symphony Space, W. 95th St. & Broadway, NYC
For information and tickets or call: 212-864-5400
Tickets: $25/Seniors: $20/ Day of show: $30

Reviews

"A smart, polished show. Karen Oberlin is a pop-jazz singer who radiates a subdued glamour... Beyond having a pretty voice, poise and interpretive insight, Ms. Oberlin is a thorough researcher... She has impeccable pop style...Ms. Oberlin brought a steady musical intelligence and delicately voluptuous phrasing to her songs. In the show's perfect moment, Ms. Oberlin's beautifully shaped reading in the classic pop tradition was one that (Doris) Day in her prime might well have envied."

-- Stephen Holden, The New York Times

"Thrilling! Oberlin is as lovely to look at as she is to hear... A Christmas tree angel named Karen Oberlin is lighting up the Algonquin's Oak Room with a show that sends you out humming. Subtle, elegant and musically spot on, Karen Oberlin is such a welcome addition to the often noisy and pointless cabaret scene that one can even imagine her accompanied by a celesta without causing the slightest hint of boredom... Breathless when the song is as romantic as a country road, then forceful and full- speed-ahead when the mood turns onto a musical freeway, (her singing) rings true and funny and flawless. She's a keeper!"

-- Rex Reed, New York Observer

"How would you like your own private one-to-one performance by a sophisticated singer? All right, so there are other people with you in the Oak Room of the Algonquin Hotel. But everyone seems to fade away as Karen Oberlin has a love affair with the music and lyrics she has chosen and sings so intimately that it's as if her songs are meant only for you. She sets the bar for her purity of tone and interpretation at the outset with songs sung with utmost clarity and attention to detail. Honoring the prolific composer and lyricist could not be in better hands."

-- William Wolf, William Wolf's Entertainment Guide

"Warm intimacy, pitch perfect, funny, poignant, mellow, sexy and spirited (with) a sophisticated sense of phrasing... Her voice warms like melting butter to infuse her love songs with emotion and passion. Few of today's singers elicit the sense of rapture as naturally and intimately as Karen Oberlin. She has followed a straight upward path since she began her career. In a three-week engagement in the Oak Room, Karen Oberlin proves her audiences were right and her critical acclaim is well- deserved."

-- Elizabeth Ahlfors, Curtainup.com and Cabaret Scenes

"Karen Oberlin is a soulful, swinging scholar of the Great American Songbook. She reaches into the minds and muses of our golden repertoire to teach us, dazzle us, and send us to a Tin Pan Alley nirvana, as deep as the ocean and high as the sky. She is truly a marvel. Accept no substitutes."

-- David Yaffe, music critic for The Nation

"How much duller Palm Beach would be these days without Karen Oberlin's sparkling interpretations! This is a singer who obviously believes every word counts. At the conclusion of at least two numbers, a woman in the audience could be distinctly heard saying "Beautiful." It would be hard to argue with that assessment."

-- Darrell Hoffheinz, Palm Beach Daily News

"Like a breath of spring, Karen Oberlin's lush vocal renditions of the songs of one of America's foremost writers of the American theater filled the air of the historic Oak Room. Oberlin, always in control, cleverly weaves lyrical wonders, meticulously sung. It feels as if she hugs each lyric; Oberlin is joyous to behold."

-- Sandi Durell, Cabaret Scenes Magazine

See Page 12 for Karen Oberlin's inclusion in 16 photos chosen for The New York Times, "The Week in Culture," October 30th, 2009 The Week in Culture Pictures (See the Photos)

-- Jennifer Taylor, The New York Times, October 30, 2009

"Because singer Oberlin is an artful straddler, moving gracefully between show tunes, jazz and pop, it comes as no surprise that on 'My Standards' the definition of 'standard' is pleasantly fuzzy. On this velvety song set, she offers moving versions of tunes by Elvis Costello, Joni Mitchell, Randy Newman, and even the 'Theme From "Valley of the Dolls."' On the jazz-standard tip, she also shows a wise take on 'How Deep Is the Ocean' backed by ever-tasteful pianist Fred Hersch. Her standards are high, and her ears are open."

-- Josef Woodard, Entertainment Weekly Magazine

"A bright, clear voice and sensual charm… Oberlin has a distinctive sound and phrases sumptuous evergreens with a fresh and appealing approach. (She) invests ballads with a breathless intimacy and lays the allure at the listener's feet."

-- Robert L. Daniels, Variety

"Riveting... Exciting... Poignant... Oberlin mixes exquisite singing with pithy and charming patter. A gifted writer and performer… (She) is gorgeous enough to be a movie star...but no posing, no posturing, no faking for her. There is a fundamental honesty and confidence in Oberlin's persona that comes through not just in her attitude but in her approach to the music. Oberlin sings (her songs) with full attention to the lyrics."

-- Barbara & Scott Siegel, TheaterMania.com

"A superb production...(Oberlin has) a deep understanding and appreciation of the lyrics. She has a great feeling for Harburg songs and the style and talent to perform them. Meanwhile, the show reviewed here could easily be reprised (at the Metropolitan Room) or many places out of New York. It is strong enough to have a good long life."

-- Jan Wallman, Nightlife Exchange

"Because singer Oberlin is an artful straddler, moving gracefully between show tunes, jazz and pop, it comes as no surprise that on 'My Standards' the definition of 'standard' is pleasantly fuzzy. On this velvety song set, she offers moving versions of tunes by Elvis Costello, Joni Mitchell, Randy Newman, and even the 'Theme From "Valley of the Dolls."' On the jazz-standard tip, she also shows a wise take on 'How Deep Is the Ocean' backed by ever-tasteful pianist Fred Hersch. Her standards are high, and her ears are open."

-- Josef Woodard, Entertainment Weekly Magazine

"Karen Oberlin's terrific new recording, Secret Love — The Music of Doris Day, is an inspired tribute to one of the greatest singers who ever stepped in front of a microphone or an audience...(her) jazzy homage makes clear what a lovely artist Oberlin is with a lilting, light voice that is clean, honest and refreshing free of artifice."

-- David Hurst, Show Business Weekly

"Karen Oberlin is my favorite vocal discovery of the year! Oberlin is one of those rare singers blessed with a clear, gorgeous, evocative voice...there is nothing to distract from the purity of tone, nor her connection to the lyric and the audience. Oberlin treats each number with the care of a master jeweler handling a fine gem."

-- Jonathan Frank, Cabaret Corner & Talkin' Broadway

"Not only does the variety of music make this album ("My Standards") bracing, but so does the way it is presented. Oberlin's primary genre is cabaret with a smattering of musical comedy. Yet she takes fascinating turns with the music within that framework. Her pure and crystalline-like-a-mountain-lake voice comes in loud and clear... A 16 year veteran of the singing scene, one can say with the release of this album, 'it's about time'. Recommended."

-- Dave Nathan, AllAboutJazz.com

"After the show I was so warm from Karen's spectacular performance and delightfully heartwarming show, it took me the 8 blocks (nearly 1/2 mile) to cool down to the reality of the outdoor temperatures. You simply must see this finely crafted and elegantly presented performance!"

-- Stu Hamstra, Cabaret Hotline Online

"The Algonquin gave Karen Oberlin a chance to show off her polished style and intelligent approach to singing via 'My Standards' (which she also pressed as a CD). She is courageous… lithe, friendly and a great singer. No gimmicks. Just good songs purveyed with sincere interest and understanding."

-- Gary Stevens, Syndicated Columnist

"Karen Oberlin is as appealing as they come."

-- David Finkle, The Village Voice

"This well-crafted and decidedly engaging act is a superb introduction to the composer-lyricist's talent for tunefulness and witty wordplay. The 20th Century was lucky to have Loesser, and the 21st Century is equally lucky to have singers like Karen Oberlin making sure his work lives on."

-- Brian Scott Lipton, Theatermania.com

"Oberlin displayed exceptional phrasing and vocals."

-- John Hoglund, Back Stage

"(At the Algonquin) she was self possessed, good with repartee and possessed a voice that makes one want to stop and listen."

-- Peter Leavy, Cabaret Scenes

"She is quite charming and very talented. She dazzles me from the moment she steps onstage. Audiences are captivated by her rich voice and her charm."

-- David Kenney, WBAI Radio

"I'm so enjoying your CD! You have a beautiful sound and tone so I am very flattered that you have enjoyed my work. You brought me to tears."

-- Doris Day

Recordings

A Wish

Personnel:
Karen Oberlin, vocals
Sean Harkness, guitar

1 I'll String Along With You
2 More Than You Know
3 A Wish
4 Train in the Distance
5 Do You Think This Happens Every Day?
6 The Kind of Man a Woman Needs
7 Love
8 Autumn Nocturne
9 My Valentine
10 Poor You
11 No One Knows
12 My One and Only Love
13 Remind Me

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Live At The Algonquin: The Songs Of Frank Loesser

Personnel:
Karen Oberlin, vocals
Jon Weber, piano
Sean Smith, bass

1 If I Were a Bell
2 Lovelier Than Ever
3 Why Fight The Feeling?
4 My Time of Day
5 Love Isn't Born (It's Made)
6 Heart and Soul/I Wish I Didn't Love You So
7 Traveling Light/ Wanting to Be Wanted
8 Hamlet
9 What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?
10 Spoken Intro: Animals
11 The Inch Worm/Snug As a Bug in a Rug
12 Spring Will Be a Little Late This Year
13 Spoken Intro: I Believe In You
14 I Believe In You
15 More I Cannot Wish You


Secret Love: The Music Of Doris Day

Personnel:
Karen Oberlin, vocals
Tedd Firth, music director, piano
Davic Finck, bass
Kenny Washinton, drums
Gene Bertoncini, guitar
Scott Kreitzer, tenor sax
Barry Danielian, flugelhorn
Eric Comstock, vocal (track 11)

1 And the Angels Sing
2 Que Sera Sera (R.B. Evans, J. Livingston)
3 Nobody's Heart (R. Rodgers, L. Hart)
4 While the Music Plays On (L. Fien, I. Mills, E.H. Heim)
5 Yes (A.G. & D.L. Previn)
6 Secret Love (S. Fain, P.F. Webster)
7 I'll Never Stop Loving You (S. Cahn, N. Drodszky)
8 IU'll See You In My Dreams (I. Jones, G. Kahn)
9 Tulip Or Turnip (D. Ellington, D. George)
10 It's Magic (J. Styne, S. Cahn)
11 I'd Rather Be With You (R. Alfred, F. Comstock, addition lyrics by K. Oberlin)
12 THe Night We Called It a Day (T.M. Adair, M. Dennis)
13 I Got Lost in His Arms (I. Berlin)
14 Sentimental Journey (L. Brown, B. Homer, B. Green)
15 Little Girl Blue (R. Rodgers, L. Hart)
16 Put 'Em In A Box, Tie 'Em With A Ribbon (J. Styne, S. Cahn)
17 How Are Things in Glocca Morra? (E.Y. Harburg, B. Lane)
18 We'll Be Together Again (F. Laine, C. Fischer)

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My Standards

Personnel:
Karen Oberlin, arrangements & vocals
Arturo O'Farrill, arrangement & piano (1,3-13)
Fred Hersch, arrangements & piano (2,14)
Jay Leonhart, bass (1,4,5,6,7,11,12)
Victor Jones, drums (1,4,5,6,7,11,12)
Dan Carillo, guitar (1,4,5,6,7,11,12)
Peter Brainin, sax (4,5,7)
Rolan Guerrero, percussion (4,6)

1 And the Angels Sing (Z. Elman, J. Mercer)
Warner Bros Music
2 Something to Live For (B. Strayhorn)
EMI Mills Music, Inc., Estate Of Mercer K Ellington
3 A Nightingale Sang in Berkely Square (M. Serwin, E. Maschwitz)
Shapiro Bernstein & Co.
4 Love Dance (I. Lins & V. Martins, P. Williams)
Kidada Music, Inc., State Of The Arts Music
5 Doodlin' (H. Silver, J. Hendricks)
Silhouette Music
6 Barangrill (Joni Mitchel)
Crazy Crow Music
7 Shipbuilding (C. Langer, E. Costello)
Plangent Visions Music Inc, Warner Bros Music
8 Where Do You Start? (J. Mandell, A. Bergman & M. Bergman)
Threesome Music, Marissa Music Co.
9 Since You Stayed Here (P. Larson, J. Rubins)
Pierrepont Music Co.
10 When (S)he Loved Me (R. Newman)
Walt Disney Music
11 Theme From "Valley of the Dolls" (A. Previn, D. Previn)
Warner Bros Music
12 Happiness Is Hard To Sell (K. Oberlin)
13 You Are Too Beautiful (R. Rodgers, L. Hart)
Warner Bros Music, Williamson Music Co
But Beautiful (J. Burke, J. Van Heusen)
Bourne Co-Burkey & Van Heusen Division, Dorsey
Brothers Music
14 How Deep Is the Ocean (I. Berlin)
Irving Berlin Music Company
15 Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep (I. Berlin)
Irving Berlin Music

Media

To hear audio selections, please go to Karen Oberlin's CD label's site: www.mirandamusic.com

Press:

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Photo by Bill Westmoreland
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Photo by Heather Sullivan
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Photo by Benjamin Niemczyk
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Photo by Russ Weatherford
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Photo by Takako Suzuki Harkness
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Photo by Bill Westmoreland
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Photo by Siobhan Weiss
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Karen Oberlin sings "God Give Me Strength"

Three videos from Feinsteins's

Iridium

Karen Oberlin at Iridium Jazz Club, NYC

May 19th, 2009 with the Tedd Firth Septet performing "Come To Baby, Do!"

Posted by Karen Oberlin on Saturday, August 22, 2009

Contact

Email: karenoberlin@gmail.com

For interest in bookings, please contact:

Beatrice D. Foley
Beah Entertainment, LLC
E: beatrice_foley2000@yahoo.com
W: 732-278-4452