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Karen "Lady in Red" Briggs

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Information about Karen "Lady in Red" Briggs

Profile image of Karen "Lady in Red" Briggs

Profession

Category:
MusicMakers
Occupation(s):
Violinist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Red
Favorite Food:
Yaka Mein
Favorite Time of Year:
August
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Favorite Quote:
Mr. or Mrs. Right Is Someone Whose Faults You Can Tolerate.

Birthplace

Born:
8/12/1963
Birth Location:
New York, New York

Profession

Category:
MusicMakers
Occupation(s):
Violinist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Red
Favorite Food:
Yaka Mein
Favorite Time of Year:
August
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Favorite Quote:
Mr. or Mrs. Right Is Someone Whose Faults You Can Tolerate.

Birthplace

Born:
8/12/1963
Birth Location:
New York
See how Karen "Lady in Red" Briggs is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Violinist Karen “Lady in Red” Briggs was born in New York City on August 12, 1963, and grew up in Portsmouth, Virginia. At an early age, Briggs displayed a natural talent for the violin and began playing many pieces by ear. While in high school, she received her first paying job, performing at a wedding for twenty dollars.

After graduating from high school in 1981, Briggs attended Norfolk State College where she majored in music education and mass media. In 1983, during her sophomore year in college, she began playing with the Virginia Symphony where she performed for four years. She returned to New York City where she won three Amateur Nights at The Apollo Theater. After getting married in 1988 and moving to Los Angeles, California, Briggs began performing regularly at the jazz club Marla’s Memory Lane. In 1989, Briggs embarked on her first professional tour with Soul II Soul, performing throughout America and Japan. In 1991, Briggs successfully auditioned for Yanni, the Greek-American new age keyboard composer. Briggs most notable performance was during Yanni Live: At the Acropolis wearing the now infamous red dress. Following this performance, she spent the next thirteen years touring and recording with Yanni, in Tribute which was performed both at the Taj Mahal in Agra, India and in the Forbidden City, in China.

Briggs made her Carnegie Hall debut in 1994, performing with pianist Dave Gruisin. She has also performed with a number of other artists over the years, including Stanley Clarke, the Wu Tang Clan, En Vogue and Chaka Khan. At the time of the interview, some of her current projects included recording with Hidden Beach Records and performing with the Unrapped Band.

Karen Briggs was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 4, 2004.

See how Karen "Lady in Red" Briggs is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Karen "Lady in Red" Briggs' interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Karen "Lady in Red" Briggs lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Karen "Lady in Red" Briggs describes her mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Karen "Lady in Red" Briggs talks about her mother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Karen "Lady in Red" Briggs describes her father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Karen "Lady in Red" Briggs traces her paternal ancestry
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Karen "Lady in Red" Briggs describes her paternal family's Pentecostal background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Karen "Lady in Red" Briggs talks about her father's musical background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Karen "Lady in Red" Briggs recalls jokes shared at her paternal family reunions
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Karen "Lady in Red" Briggs describes her earliest childhood memories in Englewood, New Jersey
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Karen "Lady in Red" Briggs describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood, pt. 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Karen "Lady in Red" Briggs describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood, pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Karen "Lady in Red" Briggs tell the story of how she began playing violin
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Karen "Lady in Red" Briggs explains how playing violin helped her cope with racial discrimination she experienced from her peers
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Karen "Lady in Red" Briggs recalls her elementary school experiences
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Karen "Lady in Red" Briggs remembers her experience at Alford J. Mapp Junior High School in Portsmouth, Virginia
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Karen "Lady in Red" Briggs describes her first jazz violin performances
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Karen "Lady in Red" Briggs talks about her father's musical career
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Karen "Lady in Red" Briggs talks about attending Woodrow Wilson High School in Portsmouth, Virginia during the last stage of school integration
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Karen "Lady in Red" Briggs describes her high school personality
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Karen "Lady in Red" Briggs describes obstacles to playing jazz violin at Norfolk State College in Norfolk, Virginia
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Karen "Lady in Red" Briggs remembers playing in the Virginia Symphony Orchestra
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Karen "Lady in Red" Briggs explains her decision to leave the Virginia Symphony Orchestra to focus on jazz violin
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Karen "Lady in Red" Briggs remembers her time as a jazz violinist in New York, New York
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Karen "Lady in Red" Briggs shares a story about her return to playing jazz violin
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Karen "Lady in Red" Briggs recalls her return to jazz violin performance in Los Angeles, California
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Karen "Lady in Red" Briggs remembers touring the United States and Japan with Soul II Soul
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Karen "Lady in Red" Briggs remembers touring Bulgaria with the Sofia Symphonic Orchestra
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Karen "Lady in Red" Briggs talks about Yanni and his music
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Karen "Lady in Red" Briggs remembers her early years of touring with Yanni
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Karen "Lady in Red" Briggs talks about her conflicts with Yanni
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Karen "Lady in Red" Briggs describes the impact of Yanni's 'Live at the Acropolis' PBS special on her life
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Karen "Lady in Red" Briggs talks about the aftermath of Yanni's 'Live at the Acropolis'
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Karen "Lady in Red" Briggs remembers the circumstances of her daughter's birth
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Karen "Lady in Red" Briggs remembers moving to Takoma Park, Maryland and forming the band Vertu in 1999
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Karen "Lady in Red" Briggs explains the break-up of jazz fusion group Vertu
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Karen "Lady in Red" Briggs describes her recent and upcoming recordings and performances
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Karen "Lady in Red" Briggs reflects on her musical career
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Karen "Lady in Red" Briggs reflects upon her life
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Karen "Lady in Red" Briggs recalls the disappearance of her eponymous red dress from 'Live at the Acropolis'
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Karen "Lady in Red" Briggs explains her philosophies regarding music and the music industry
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Karen "Lady in Red" Briggs describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community, pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Karen "Lady in Red" Briggs describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community, pt. 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Karen "Lady in Red" Briggs reflects upon her legacy
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Karen "Lady in Red" Briggs talks about her musical career's impact on her family members
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Karen "Lady in Red" Briggs describes some of the string instruments in her collection
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Karen "Lady in Red" Briggs describes how she would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Karen "Lady in Red" Briggs plays a tune on her violin
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Karen "Lady in Red" Briggs narrates her photographs