Karen Mueller to perform at Richfield Historical Society July 17, 7:00 pm


Karen Mueller is readily thought of as an Autoharp and Appalachian dulcimer player by folk music fans, and not without cause.  She was a finalist in the 1985 National Dulcimer Championships and she was crowned the International Autoharp Champion in 1986.  Both contests were held at the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, KS, her home town.  Growing up in Winfield gave Karen no advantage in winning her titles as competitors gather each fall from all over the world to vie for the coveted titles.  However, It did give her ready access to the festival in her youth, and it was when she saw the gathered talent performing and competing that she found the inspiration to take her life in a musical direction.  The subsequent path to her titles was paved with practice, practice, practice.

Her prodigious musical talent has not gone unnoticed.  She was inducted into the Autoharp Hall of Fame in 2006.  The Minneapolis Star Tribune has said of Karen “In the hands of a few gifted people, the Autoharp can swell into the sound of an orchestra.  Karen Mueller is one of those few”.  Bluegrass Unlimited Magazine noted that “Karen Mueller’s touch, timing and taste make her a true virtuoso.  Her talent and clarity…deserve a wide audience”.  She was also a recipient of a 2012-13 McKnight Artist Fellowship for Performing Musicians.

While continuing to develop her proficiency on Autoharp and dulcimer, Karen has since broadened her musical horizons considerably adding Guitar, Mandolin, Irish Bouzouki and Ukulele to her musical storehouse.  While she is home based in the twin cities, Karen is sought  to appear at festivals throughout the country and has performed in the UK as well.  She performs regularly in concert with Katie McMahon, the original lead singer of the Irish dance sensation, Riverdance.  We are delighted to have Karen as a member of The Homestead Pickin’ Parlor teaching staff where she is in residence two days a week.

Karen has authored three books.  One of them, Celtic Autoharp, was published by Mel Bay Publications.  She has recorded six solo recordings and has appeared on four highly regarded anthology recordings.  They are Masters of the Mountain Dulcimer (2 Volumes), Autoharp Legacy, and The Minnesota Fiddle Tunes Project.

It’s easy to see that Karen is a busy person.  Yet she finds time to conduct school residencies, teaching students to build and play dulcimers and she, not infrequently, can be found  leading senior citizens in group singing as well.  We are delighted to have her perform in this second 2013 Back yard at the Bart concert.  The performance is free and open to the public.  It will be held at The Bartholomew House, Richfield’s oldest private residence located at 6901 Lyndale Ave S.  The concert will begin at 7:00 PM It will be held rain or shine and families are invited to attend.  Bring a lawn chair and join us.  Refreshments will be available and everyone in attendance will be throoughly entertained.

And for the uninformed out there who tend to look down on the Autoharp as a lowly instruments, check out what this International Autoharp champion does with a medley of Irish tunes – “Blarney Pilgrim” and “Humours of Ennisymon“:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nbKApkQe2Jk



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