Philip Carlsen - Asa Nisi Masa (Karen Dekker, violin; Steven Beck, piano)



Dutch violinist Karen Dekker grew up surrounded by music. Adept across styles and performance practices, Karen performs regularly on both baroque and modern violin throughout the United States and Europe. Karen has recently appeared as a soloist with Orchestra of Saint Luke’s at MassMoCa, Juilliard’s baroque ensemble J415 on tour in New Zealand, and the American Classical Orchestra at New York’s Lincoln Center. She has performed in William Christie’s gardens in Thiré, France, and toured Europe with Les Arts Florissants and The Knights Chamber Orchestra. Karen also is a regular sub on Broadway’s Hamilton and Book of Mormon

Karen can be heard on albums with the Smithsonian Chamber Players, Orchestra of Saint Luke’s, Handel+Haydn Society, as well as Alexandre Desplat’s film score for Little Women. Upcoming engagements were to include performances at the Internationale Händel Feststpiele Göttingen in Germany, the Carmel Bach Festival, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, ACRONYM and many others in the US and beyond. She holds degrees from Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam, Manhattan School of Music and The Juilliard School. Karen is based in New York City.


A recent New York concert by pianist Steven Beck was described as “exemplary” and “deeply satisfying” by Anthony Tommasini in the New York Times. He continues to gather acclaim for his performances and recordings. Recent career highlights include performances of Beethoven’s variations and bagatelles at Bargemusic, where he first performed the Beethoven sonata cycle, and a performance of Saint-Saens' Carinval of the Animals with the New York Philharmonic.

Mr. Beck is an experienced performer of new music, having worked with Elliott Carter, Pierre Boulez, Henri Dutilleux, Charles Wuorinen, George Crumb, George Perle, and Fred Lerdahl, and performed with ensembles such as Speculum Musicae and the New York New Music Ensemble. He is a member of The Knights, the Talea Ensemble, and the Da Capo Chamber Players. He is also a member of Quattro Mani, a piano duo specializing in contemporary music. As an orchestral musician he has appeared with the New York Philharmonic, the New York City Ballet Orchestra, Orpheus, the Mariinsky Orchestra, and many others. Mr. Beck’s discography includes Peter Lieberson’s third piano concerto (for Bridge Records) and a recording of Elliott Carter’s “Double Concerto” on Albany Records. He is a Steinway Artist.


Born in Coulee Dam, Washington, in 1951, Philip Carlsen studied at the University of Washington, Brooklyn College, and the CUNY Graduate Center, working principally with Robert Suderburg and Jacob Druckman, as well as with Stuart Dempster, William Bergsma, Mario Davidovsky, and Charles Dodge.  He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Institute of Arts and Letters, and the Maine Arts Commission; a residency at the MacDowell Colony; and the 1989 American Composers Alliance/Town Hall Commission. The National Symphony Orchestra, in connection with its nationwide residency program, chose Carlsen to represent Maine in writing a new chamber work for premiere at the Kennedy Center that would “express the spirit of Maine’s people.”  Other commissions have come from the Portland Symphony Orchestra, the Bossov Ballet Theatre, the Sebago-Long Lakes Region Chamber Music Festival, the trio Penumbra, etc.  Carlsen’s solo piano piece “October,” recorded by his son Melsen, is available from Navona Records on the SCI CD series.

In addition to his orchestral, chamber, and vocal music for traditional Western musicians, Carlsen has also composed for Javanese and Sundanese gamelan, for Laotian khean, and for his own original instruments (including automobile orchestra). Carlsen is a Professor Emeritus at the University of Maine at Farmington, where he conducted the orchestra and taught other music courses for 33 years.  He lives in South Portland, Maine, with his wife, the poet Jeri Theriault.


Asa Nisi Masa - Philip Carlsen
Recorded at home in New York, NY, October 2020
Karen Dekker, violin
Steven Beck, piano
Mastered by Robert Scott ThompsonAucourant Records.
Property of Shelter Recording Project, American Composers Alliance.