Composer Karen Siegel draws on her experience as a vocalist in her creation of innovative choral and vocal works. Hailed as “complex and wonderful,” (TheatreScene.net) and “colorful and at times groovy” (WQXR.org), her works are frequently performed by the New York City-based ensemble C4: the Choral Composer/Conductor Collective, which she co-founded in 2005. She is the winner of the 2014-2015 POLYPHONOS Choral Composition Competition, in the National Composer category. This prize is awarded by the Esoterics vocal ensemble and resulted in the commission and premiere of Clouds, Ephemeral by the ensemble in Seattle. She is also a winner of the Khorikos ensemble’s 2015 ORTUS competition. She was awarded first prize in the New York Virtuoso Singers 2013 Choral Composition Competition for her humorous a cappella choral work from 2006, Confessions from the Blogosphere, which sets excerpts from online blogs. Sponge Squeezed Dry, her 2008 piece for mixed chorus and horn that sets an original text, was awarded the 2009 Starer Award for Composition at the City University of New York Graduate Center.
Siegel’s choral work Saguaro was recorded by C4 and released on the album Volume 1: Uncaged in 2013. Inspired by the desert landscape and history of Tucson, Arizona, Saguaro was commissioned by the Manhattan Choral Ensemble as a result of being a winner of their Commissioning Project Competition in 2008.
She is also active as a conductor and as a soprano, often performing her own works. She received a PhD in composition from the CUNY Graduate Center, where she studied with Tania León. Siegel also holds degrees from Yale (BA in psychology) and NYU Steinhardt (MM in composition), where she studied with Marc-Antonio Consoli. She has served on the faculty at Drew University and the City College of New York. Her works are published by See-A-Dot Music Publishing, self-published through Chestnutoak Press, and distributed under the Creative Commons license in the Justice Choir Songbook. She lives in Hoboken, New Jersey, with her husband and two sons.