Helga Karen (1991) is a Finnish pianist and researcher specialized in performance of classical contemporary music. She has performed as a soloist and chamber music musician in various contemporary music festivals such as Lucerne Festival, SoundScape, Musica Nova, ISA2015, Stockhausen Courses and Concerts, Impuls Academy and International Summer Course for New Music Darmstadt. Helga has given world premiere performances of works for piano solo and chamber music, as well as played as a member of such orchestras and ensembles as Ensemble Lemniscate, Basel Symphony Orchestra, Basel Sinfonietta and Lucerne Festival Academy.
In 2021 Helga started working as a member of Lucerne Festival Contemporary Leaders and became a co-curator of the autumn event Lucerne Festival Forward, and will work as a piano tutor during the Festival Academy 2022-2024.
Helga is a member of Earth Ears Ensemble with the goal of enlivening contemporary music performance with focus on experimentation and presenting lesser-heard ideas and voices in new concert settings.
In 2018-2019 Helga was a project manager of the new school music program for Maestro Daniel Barenboim at the Daniel Barenboim Stiftung in Berlin in collaboration with the Berlin Cosmopolitan School.
Additionally Helga is interested in producing and performing music theatre shows for kids and youth. In 2019 she co-wrote and performed the children show "Fairytales without Words", which was shown in Pierre Boulez Saal in Berlin.
Helga has won several prizes at various competitions, as a soloist and with chamber music groups, including 1st prizes in Giovani Musicisti music competition, Stockhausen Concert and Courses, Karlsruhe Contemporary Music Competition and Orpheus Chamber Music Competition. In 2020 Helga received a Fritz Gerber Award supporting young musicians in the field of classical contemporary music.
Helga has received her Diploma in piano pedagogy from Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, completed her pedagogical studies in Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien and received her Master in Specialized Performance in Contemporary Music Degree from Basel Music Academy in 2016. Currently Helga is working on her PhD on Stockhausen's piano pieces at Sibelius Academy in Helsinki. She has studied under the tutelage of professors Jürg Henneberger, Mike Svoboda, Marcus Weiss, Joonas Pohjonen, Manon-Liu Winter and Ella Untamala. She has taken part in master classes with professors Boris Berman, Ian Pace, Benjamin Kobler, Florian Müller, Nicholas Hodges, Florian Hoelscher and Dimitri Vassilakis. Helga has worked together with Helmut Lachenmann, Rebecca Saunders, Jörg Widmann, Vinko Globokar, Uljas Pulkkis and Jannik Giger.