Karen Marston is currently on the full time faculty at Mt San Antonio College in Walnut, CA, where she works with brass players in both applied and chamber settings and teaches music history courses. Prior to this position, she spent 15 years on the full time faculty at San Jacinto College in Pasadena, TX. Karen holds degrees in trombone performance from the University of North Texas and Rice University, and both a masters and doctorate in music education from Columbia University, where she was the recipient of the Elin B. Stein Graduate Fellowship. Her teachers include Jan Kagarice, Dr. Vern Kagarice, Dr. Royce Lumpkin, and David Waters.
Dr. Marston is the founder and Artistic Director of two successful brass chamber ensembles, Omni Brass and the Resonance Brass Choir, and in that capacity has performed and taught both nationally and internationally, giving master classes at Cal State Los Angeles, the University of Texas at Tyler, Baylor University, Lamar University, Texas A&M University Corpus Christi, Texas Christian University, and numerous middle and high school programs across the country. Her ensembles have also been featured at the TCU Trombone Summit, the Houston Symphony League Chamber Music Series, the San Jacinto College Brass Symposium, Menil Fest (Houston), Café Corotu (Panama City, Panama), the Clarion at Brazosport College, and the International Trombone Festival (Redlands, CA). She has also commissioned and premiered numerous works, including brass and percussion ensembles by Charles Halka (Northbound, 2017), Stephen Bachicha (Three Sculptural Impressions, 2016), Joseph Schenck (Fanfare, 2015), Henry Darragh (Levelled Out, 2013), and Isiah Castro (Close Call, 2017).
Outside of chamber music, Karen is also active as a freelancer, and has performed with the Houston Symphony, the San Antonio Symphony, the Ebony Opera Guild, Orchestra X (Houston), the American Radio Chamber Orchestra, the Composers Orchestra of Houston, the Millennial Choirs and Orchestra (Orange County, CA), Alliance Brass, Ambient Brass, and the Texas Brass. In 2020, she was scheduled to perform as guest soloist with the Youth Wind Ensemble of the Pacific Symphony, and has also been featured numerous times at the International Trombone Festival, most notably as a founding member of the Composers Workshop, an initiative for new music.
As a researcher, Karen has completed an extensive dissertation project focusing on the causes and pedagogical interventions relevant to focal task specific embouchure dystonia, and her work has twice been published in the Journal of the International Trombone Association. In 2020, she also completed an open-source textbook for college-level music appreciation courses, currently available for free use online. Dr. Marston’s arrangements can be heard on both Omni Brass releases – The Red Album (2014), and Omnify (2016) – and are available commercially through Brassworks4. Karen has received performance and pedagogy grants from the San Jacinto Foundation, the Brown Foundation, the American Chamber Music Players of New York, and the Houston Arts Alliance.
As Director of both the International Trombone Festival and SoCal Trombone Day, Dr. Marston is at the forefront of the trombone community, and enjoys collaborations with students, teachers, and artists from around the world.
Karen is an artist for Rath Trombones, England.
Bachelor of Music, B.M., Trombone, the University of North Texas, 1994
Master of Music, M.M., Trombone, Rice University, 1999
Master of Education, M.Ed., Teachers College, Columbia University, 2011
Doctor of Education, Ed.D.C, Teachers College Columbia University, 2011