Picture: Karen Power by John Godfrey
Picture: Karen Power by John Godfrey

Karen Power

Karen’s compositions utilise two primary sources; acoustic instruments and everyday sounds, spaces and soundscapes. Her works are experienced as concert music, sound art, expanded instruments, real+imaginary sonic environments and as multi-sensory moments.

Everyday environments and how we hear everyday sounds lies at the core of Karen Power’s practice with a continued interest in blurring the distinction between what most of us call ‘music’ and all other sound. She has found inspiration in the natural world and how we respond to spaces we occupy. She continually utilises our inherent familiarity with such sounds and spaces as a means of engaging with audiences. Resulting works challenge the listeners memory of hearing while simultaneously shifting focus and presenting new contexts for such sounds.

In 2009 Karen completed a PhD in acoustic and electroacoustic composition at SARC (Sonic Arts Research Centre), Belfast, with Prof. Michael Alcorn. Throughout her PhD, Karen’s works focused on the commonalities and individualities of both acoustic and electroacoustic composition aiming to develop a more integrated language, which acknowledges and utilizes such strengths.


1. I’m a sound seeker

2. Chocolate tastes good

3. It’s difficult to feel part of this world right now

1. What is the biggest inspiration for your music?

all living sound

2. How and when did you get into making music?

I’ve always been a keen listener, but arrived relatively late to believing that I could actually make music. In college, I soaked up as many different types of musical experiences as I could, and then one day I wrote.

3. What are 5 of your favourite albums of all time?

I’m going with albums that have left biggest marks on my ears, often it’s about when you hear something as much as what you hear!

Michael Gordon Trance performed by Icebreaker
Thelonious Monk Underground
Janowitz Berliner Philharmoniker Karajan with Richard Strauss — Vier letzte Lieder
Aphex Twin Drukqs
The Ligeti Project – boxset

4. What do you associate with Berlin?

You can hear the best and worst music/sound all in the same night. I love that there is so much of so much going on.

5. What’s your favourite place in your town?

Hmm, so many. Any of the many locations where you are simultaneously surrounded by trees and buildings.

6. If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?

…just listen to the world.

7. What was the last record/music you bought or listen?

The Double Brood Emergence Of 13 year + 17 year periodic cicadas in Springfield, Illinois, USA – not an album, but a stunning natural live event!

8. Who would you most like to collaborate with?

True collaboration is a very special process that requires openness and a willingness to fully engage in the collaborative act in itself. I love to collaborate with anyone who shares this belief….and is a good listener!

9. What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?

I was invited to sound with Pauline Oliveros @ CTM Festival in 2016…that was really something!

10. How important is technology to your creative process?

An essential creative tool.

11. What can we expect from your concert at the Heroines of Sound Festival 2024?

…we return to ground… (2022) is an invitation to us all to consider different ways of listening, being in and experiencing the world. The entire piece, even the video and dance elements, are based on full frequency field recordings I made of life beneath the surface of various types of water: from bogs to sea caves. The fact that there is life that exists at all within some of these tiny patches of water is extraordinary!

You can expect all three works of QME’s late-night concert program to offer you time and space to find your own way to listen and become immersed in an extraordinary multi-sensory set of experiences. There are two other wonderful works in this program by Anna Murray and Kathy Hinde.