Karen van Schaik


Karen van Schaik is a composer, saxophonist, improvisor and multidisciplinary artist. She writes and plays music for circus, theater, her own musical project HU!, multidisciplinary fanfare Bazzaria (which she also conducts) and other music groups. Additionally, Karen draws, paints, writes, and designs furniture and costumes.

Holder of a degree in architecture from the Technological University of Delft, Karen comes to Brussels to study jazz saxophone. In 2013 she represents the Netherlands within the MetX production European Saxophone Ensemble (ESE), which brought together 12 saxophonists from 12 European countries each year. As a professional musician, she settles permanently in Brussels.


After the ESE and her studies in jazz saxophone at the Conservatoire Royale de Bruxelles, the European capital remains the ideal breeding ground for Karen to develop her various artistic passions. She creates and participates in several musical projects and begins practicing the circus discipline Chinese Pole. In September 2022 Karen starts studying jazz composition at the Koninklijk Conservatorium Brussel with Michelino Bisceglia.

MetX carte blanche: HU!

In 2021 Karen receives a carte blanche from MetX, which marks the start of her project HU!, a jazz sextet which challenges gender stereotypes and seeks explanations why women are not (yet) widely represented in the field of jazz. Read more about HU!


Circus Company Be Flat

Karen works with the contemporary circus company Be Flat on “LIVING”, a multidisciplinary project that creates site specific performances. The creation of “LIVING” began in January 2023 and performances are scheduled for 2024 and 2025.


Since May 2023 Karen is the composer and co-artistic coordinator of this multidisciplinary fanfare, consisting of wind instrument players, percussionists and contemporary dancers. Read more about Bazzaria.


Work as a composer/arranger

Karen often gets commissioned to compose and arrange for diverse projects. She currently works with Michel Hatzigeorgiou, arranging some of his compositions for harp, string section, woodwinds, lead vocals, choeur and Fender bass. And she composes for Araponga, a jazz septet with a lyrical singer who plays the music of Yma Sumac and original compositions. She also sometimes subs in Araponga on flute and baritone saxophone.

For more info about Karen and her different projects visit


Photo © Greetje Van Buggenhout




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