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Blurred Black and white photo of Karen De Nardi focusing on her viola and left hand fingers near the scroll


multi skilled, violist/violinist,

composer and arranger.


Karen’s compositions have a strong reputation in the South Australian scene. A recent highlight was composing for the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra’s Big Rehearsal. “The Biscuit Suite” containing 5 pieces for orchestra was conducted by Graeme Abbott in 2019 and again in 2021. 


In 2022 Karen was featured composer for COMA (Creative Original Music Adelaide) presenting a full concert of String Quartet, String Ensemble, And Guitar duo works.


In 2021 Karen was composer for the 2021 ABODA schools music competition. String ensembles across 3 ability levels learnt 1-2 set pieces chosen from the set repertoire list.


In 2019, Zephyr Quartet commissioned Karen to write a string quartet piece, which she named “Le Feu a Notre Dame” about the Notre Dame Cathedral on fire. (watch below)

In 2017, Karen composed a string orchestra piece around the theme of migration, new lands, and inclusion. “Odyssey" was performed as part of the Queensland Festival of Music


Karen’s commissions have been broadcast on ABC ClassicFM, and are gaining attention on a national scale. Her latest compositions use traditional instrument sounds removed from their conventional setting to create something more intuitive and innovative.


Karen is open to collaboration and the potential to expand her compositional ideas to different instruments and new locations across the spectrum of arts. Hear more at


Viola players make great arrangers. It is the details and intricacies of the middle harmonies and rhythms that provide great scope for arrangements and composition.

In July 2021, Karen arranged 20 orchestra arrangements of Pink Floyd music for a 30 piece orchestra and with rock band. The show has toured nationally to 2000+pp sold out theatres across all major Australian cities. 

In September 2023 she arranged for Rocket Man "the music of Elton John" for 30 piece orchestra and with rock band. This show has performed in Adelaide Festival centre and is being picked up nationally soon.


Karen has written string accompaniments for singer-songwriters and bands and has provided numerous pop arrangements for string quartet. If you are interested in acquiring any of these pop arrangements please check the list at and get in touch.

Karen de Nardi's orchestral arrangements being played live on stage by 30 piece orchestra and 8 piece band at Adelaide Festival Centre. Eclipse Pink Floyd Orchestrared.

ECLIPSE Pink Floyd Orchestrated ( Adelaide Festival Theatre 17 July 2021)


Le Feu à Notre Dame  ( The Fire at Notre Dame )

"On being asked to compose a piece for Zephyr, I had many melodies spinning around in my head and a strong idea for a groove based uptempo tune. I had planned to get started on the music when I awoke to hear the news of The Notre Dame, in flames, being broadcast across the world.

One fire- destroying years of history, centuries of craftsmanship, irreplaceable paintings and stunning stained glass windows. Countless memories from billions of visitors, stories of religious gatherings and romantic holidays lost in a matter of hours. This monumental structure means so much to the people of Paris and those who have visited the city over many years. To see it alight was heartbreaking.

This is where writing from the heart took precedence over technical planning. Not choosing any particular chord structure, I wrote the beginning of this piece starting from a unison G (the initial flame) which then slowly spreads and finds air, creating uncertainty. The music rises as the flames take over and you can hear the church spire catch alight and begin to fall. The melodies resemble that of the organ and choral music. A more calming theme is heard as the fire disperses and the damage can be seen; the paintings and windows are safe and there is a feeling of relief that the building can be saved."

Tim Tam Slam from The Biscuit Suite

I was thrilled that my suite was chosen to be performed by the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra. This suite includes Arnotts biscuit favourites - Scotch Finger Hoedown - a finger splitting piece using slides and double strings, Moorish Montecarlo - a moor inspired hypnotic tune, Kingston Calypso - with Carribean style rhythms and melodies, Classic Nice - a very classical style fugue, and finishes with Tim Tam Slam."

This concert is called Big Rehearsal and gives young students the opportunity to sit alongside professional ASO musicians and learn repertoire for performance. The above was recorded during rehearsal in the ASO Grainger Studio.


available for purchase from SHOP

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