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My name is Karen Jolliffe and I am a violinist and tutor of upper strings 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 the loft aged 7. I later went on to achieve a first class honours degree in music specialising in violin performance under my teacher, the late Carmel Kaine. I 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 violinist for the past ten years and regularly play with Kent Sinfonia and Canterbury Camerata as well as guests leading the Canterbury Orchestra. I have also performed at various festivals including the Sacconi Festival, Canterbury Festival and the Free Range contemporary music series.

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 metal band Famyne, and folk/pop/hip hop 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 nine years, I have enjoyed my position as a violin teacher at my studio in Canterbury, and also in Kent schools, including Ashford School, Highworth Grammar School and Dover Grammar School for Boys/Girls. I have also tutored the viola section at Kent Music Summer School symphony orchestra course at Benenden. Coaching string ensembles is a real passion of mine, and I run a number of string quartets and ensembles.  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 a Paris.

Karen Jolliffe Violinist in Cantebury and Violin Teacher in Canterbury

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

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