Kari Watson has a passion for narrative, and works to create music that is energetic, tactile and emotionally driven. With roots in vocal study and performance, she often incorporates text into both her vocal and instrumental works with a focus on text setting. She has set the works of poets such as E.E. Cummings, Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson, and most recently Henrik Ibsen. Along with a passion for narrative arc, Kari strives to incorporate the dramatic arts into her work, focusing on the expression of character an instrument or vocalist plays. Kari began studying voice at the Longy school of Music in 2010, and from there continued on to study at the New England Conservatory in the preparatory studies division. While studying composition with Margaret McAllister at NEC, she expanded her study to include classical voice, improvisation, piano and conducting. Kari has also been participating in various vocal ensembles, holding a variety of roles from performer, to music director, arranger, composer and rehearsal conductor. 


She has been featured in multiple workshops and programs such as the Brevard Institute’s summer composition fellowship, Eastman School of Music’s summer composition intensive and NEC’s contemporary festival. Kari has received honorable mention’s in the Calliop’s Call, call for scores (2016), and the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber Orchestra’s International Composition Competition (2016). She is currently working on a commission for the Four on the Floor Ensemble at Oberlin Conservatory, and most recently completed a chamber work for Oberlin’s Contemporary Music Ensemble. She has premiered works in Boston, New York, North Carolina and Ohio. Kari is entering her second year as a composition student at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, where she studies with Stephen Hartke, Elizabeth Ogonek and Jesse Jones under a dean’s scholarship.