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My name is Karen Jolliffe and I am a versatile and experienced violinist based in Kent.


Born in 1989, I was surrounded by music as a child, with my late father being an accomplished pianist and - later - my piano teacher and accompanist. I was first handed my great grandma's neglected violin from an attic aged 7. I later went on to achieve a first class honours degree in music studying with Carmel Kaine, and was fortunate enough to be taught and coached by musicians such as Martin Outram of the Maggini Quartet, Rachel Podger and Susie Mészáros of the Chilingirian Quartet.

I have been working as a freelance solo, orchestral and chamber violinist for the past ten years and have played with Kent Sinfonia, Canterbury Camerata and for various festivals such as the Sacconi Festival, Deal Festival and the contempory music festival, Free Range, in my home town of Canterbury.


I have a passion for contemporary music, and has performed and recorded a number of world premieres by local and international composers including Samuel Messer, Joe Inkpen and Matthew Brown. 

I founded the Leon String Quartet in 2012, which is a professional ensemble that has performed at hundreds of events across the UK. Find more about the Leon Quartet at

As a session violinist, I have recorded for television and radio including the BBC, and feature on several bands' albums, including doom metal band Famyne, and indie-pop band Coco and the Butterfields. I am also a keen orchestrator and arranger, and regularly produce original arrangements for Leon String Quartet. 

For the past eight years, I have enjoyed my position as a violin teacher in Canterbury, and also in Kent schools, including Highworth Grammar School, Dover Grammar School for Boys and Ashford School. I have also coached on the Kent Music Summer School symphony orchestra course. I feel extremely privileged to be teaching and inspiring the next generation of young string players, but of course I equally enjoy teaching adult learners of all ages and abilities. 


I play on two violins: One from 1907 by the German luthier Henreich Heberlein Jr., kindly donated by Eric Richards in 2010, and the other a 2015 Guarneri model by Canterbury Luthier Philippe Briand.

My bow is made by the French bow maker, Louis Simon.

Karen Jolliffe Violinist in Cantebury and Violin Teacher in Canterbury

©2019 by Karen Jolliffe, Violinist | Violin teacher in Canterbury

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