karalyn schubring

Leslie and Anita Bassett Fellow


“I began piano lessons at age three and composing at age six, and although I loved to please my teachers, I found the amount of work required to write music and perform well overwhelming and unenjoyable. Fortunately, my attitude towards music-making was changed when I went to a Hiromi Uehara concert in the eighth grade. I was completely mesmerized by how this powerhouse jazz pianist played an entire, demanding concert while grinning like a ten- year-old. A switch flipped in my mind, and I realized that music-making could actually be a very joyful experience. Hiromi inspired me to begin improvising—a lot. It was through improvisation that I learned how to make music effortlessly and expressively, just for fun. By the time I entered high school, I had fallen in love with jazz music, composing, improvising, and even practicing, and I knew that I wanted to be a composer.”

— Karalyn Schubring

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Karalyn Schubring (b. 1999) is a dedicated composer, pianist, teacher, and improviser whose work centers around inspiring others to engage imaginatively with music.

As a composer, Karalyn has already received numerous awards from national organizations for her works, which combine the energy of jazz, the imagery of programmatic music, and the lyricism of song. In 2013, she won 1st place nationally in the Junior Division of the Music Teacher’s National Association Composition Competition for her solo piano piece, Story of the Stars . Two years later, she was named a national finalist by the same organization for her piano and euphonium piece, Song of the Ancients , which went on to receive a Morton Gould Award from the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) in the same year. She also received the Morton Gould Award for her soprano saxophone and piano piece titled The Journey . In 2016, Karalyn was selected as a composition fellow for the Phoenix-based MusicaNova Orchestra, which premiered her Symphonic Dance No. 1 , a piece which received an Honorable Mention from the National YoungArts Foundation. Karalyn was commissioned by East Valley Children’s Theater to compose music for the original play, Arya’s Rock: A Video Game Adventure , which received an ariZoni theater award and a National Youth Arts award for sound design. The following year, she wrote the music and lyrics for the original script of Snow White and Rose Red , which premiered in June 2016. Since moving to Ann Arbor, her music has been performed by the newly-formed, virtuosic vocal ensemble, //meridian.

As a pianist since the age of three, Karalyn has received recognition from the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) and the Arizona Music Educators Association (AMEA). An active performer of new music, she has played her own compositions with world-class performers, including Dian D’Avanzo, Viviana Cumplido Wilson, and Damien Shindelman of the Phoenix Symphony, Michael Hernandez of the Mana Quartet, and LA percussionist MB Gordy. As one of six winners of the American Composers Forum’s NextNotes High School Composition Competition in 2016, Karalyn was invited to perform her winning work, Lua Azul , in St. Paul, MN. She also performed her Song of the Ancients on NPR’s "From the Top" radio program in El Paso, TX. Karalyn enjoys performing new music of many varieties, and has premiered a number of new works by her colleagues in Ann Arbor. Past performance venues include Tempe Center for the Arts, the Musical Instrument Museum, the NAMM show, the Walt Disney Hotel, The Cube at the Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s concert hall, and in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

In addition to her love for performing, Karalyn is passionate about teaching music to children of all ages, and has done so at the East Valley Yamaha Music School for the past four years.

As an improviser, Karalyn was a winner in the inaugural year of the Social Music Works International Video Upload Competition in the Variations category. She performed comedic improv around the city of Mesa with EVCT’s On the Spot improv troupe for 8 seasons. In 2016, she gave a TEDx Talk to Chandler residents ages 9-19 about how improvising on a regular basis allows people to become their best selves. She enjoys improvising at the piano in several styles, and makes a point of collaborating regularly with other musicians, both informally and onstage.

Karalyn is currently earning her Bachelors in Music Composition from the University of Michigan, where she has studied piano with Matthew Bengtson and composition with Kristin Kuster.