Immersed into the arts at a young age, Karla’s love of music came from years of ballet and competitive figure skating. After much pestering, her non-musical parents finally gave way and let her start learning the violin at the age of 10.

In December 2011, Karla graduated from the New Zealand School of Music in Wellington. Here she gained a Bachelor of Music with a major in both Performance Violin and Musicology, as well as a minor in Conducting. Continuing her studies, Karla completed a postgraduate diploma in Performance Chamber Music and studied under Vesa-Matti Leppanen and Donald Maurice.

Highlights of her time in Wellington included being a founding member of the SMP Ensemble, becoming concertmaster of the Wellington Youth Orchestra, participating in the New Zealand Youth Orchestra for several seasons and travelling to Canada for a four-week placement after a successful audition into the Symphony Orchestra Academy of the Pacific.

After studying, Karla found herself unable to gain any paid employment in the arts. After several months, she took full-time employment in Temporary Traffic Management and progressed quickly, resulting in a senior position on nightshift motorway road closures, putting gear out and driving trucks. In May 2013, Karla broke her finger and in A&E at 3am, decided that her passion was still with the violin and that she needed to return to it more seriously.

It was at this time that Karla started freelancing for Southern Sinfonia in Dunedin and successfully auditioned for her Master of Music at Otago University, studying under Tessa Peterson. Karla became a tutti player for Southern Sinfonia in 2014 and received the Southern Sinfonia Scholarship to support her studies at Otago.

Karla wishes to thank the Herman Menkes Bequest Fund and the Kirkpatrick Fund for previously supporting her musical studies.


Which three people, living or dead, would you most like to have dinner with?
Very tough to whittle my list down to just three, but Aung San Suu Kyi, Condoleezza Rice, and Helen Clark. Condoleezza Rice notably said “[A] difference is often made by one person who is fed up, and is willing to act”. These three woman embody this statement as they, each in their own right, have caused ripples on water to gather momentum for change. They stand up and inspire others to stand up for their own rights and be the cause for betterment in the world, often while facing heavy opposition not just because of the ideology they portray, but also because of their gender, race and education.

What’s on your playlist right now?
My playlist right now is a very eclectic collection of awesome, embarrassing and groan-worthy tracks. But most notably Postmodern Jukebox features quite a bit, as does the group The Devil Makes Three, a fantastic fusion of folk, bluegrass, and jazz. The Goat Rodeo sessions featuring Yo-Yo Ma are becoming a staple in my listening, and of course no playlist would be complete without Itzhak Perlman’s recordings of the Brahms and Beethoven violin sonatas.

What do you love about classical music?
What’s not to love about classical music?! It feeds and nourishes our souls by indulging our emotions and our passions, allowing us as both performer and listener to escape – even for fleeting moments – out of the every day and into entertaining our imaginations. This is something that is becoming more and more precious as “switching off” and taking time away from the increasing pressures of the electronic era becomes more difficult to do.