recorded live in concert at the Alix Goolden Hall in 2001. Includes original compositions, jazz standards, traditional folk tunes, and the blues.
A native of Leiden, Holland, Karel was raised in Calgary, Canada. After studying piano, guitar, and percussion in his school years, Karel toured the British Isles with the Calgary Youth Orchestra and became a professional musician on his return in 1970. He toured North America with several groups and became vocal director/keyboardist of the show group "Stratus Faction", making his television debut on CTV with the group's own pilot program. In 1973, Karel studied jazz arranging and composition at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, and completed a degree in secondary music and mathematics education at the University of Victoria in 1981. He has taught both privately and in public schools for students of all ages, and has been a featured specialist at numerous jazz workshops.
Karel has been a composer for film, television and video projects as a partner in Legacy Music Ltd. since 1985. He wrote the source music for the film In the Company of Men, which won the Filmmakers' Trophy at the 1997 Sundance Festival, and was an official selection for the 1997 Cannes Film Festival. He has also co-written music with Ken Williams for several internationally televised series, among them Police Academy - the series(Fox Network in USA, and networks in ninety countries), Undersea Explorer(Outdoor Living Network et al), Safari - Ocean Adventures, (on Discovery Canada, NHK Japan and others), Take Off children's series (on Family Channel, CTV et al), and The New Body Moves, an aerobics series (Canada-wide, also shown internationally), along with innumerable educational, corporate and travel videos, receiving national and international awards such as the Peabody Award, the ITVA world-wide award, and many others. Television credits also include a great many themes and scores for documentaries, news, drama and children's programs broadcast world-wide.
Karel has been keyboardist and/or musical director for a great number of musicals, stage presentations, and concerts, and his playing talents have led to engagements all over the world. His first solo album Keys, recorded in 1988 and distributed by Midsummer Music, has received wide critical acclaim. An album of Christmas carols entitled Do You Hear What I Hear? followed in 1991. Since then, on the Midsummer label (internationally distributed by Tandem Music), Karel has written, performed, and recorded four music and nature sounds albums, solo piano albums Piano by the Sea and Orca Suite, and orchestrations Classics for Relaxation (with Mark Bracken), and Wings of Summer. An orchestral suite co-written with Kenneth G. Williams for the Butchart Gardens was released in 1993 on the Holborne label. Another piano solo CD, Thinking of You - Themes of Friendship has been released by Midsummer in 1996. A jazz trio CD of original tunes entitled Cat Fud was also completed early in 1996.
In the field of children's music, Karel was musical director and keyboardist on Birds, Beasts and Babes by Pat Carfra (the lullaby lady), chosen by the Ladies' Home Journal as one of the six all-time best children's bedtime albums, keyboardist and arranger on John Demers' My Backyard, and George Dixon's series of children's musical stories. He has toured with Norman Foote and played regularly at Victoria's Glendale Lodge and the Queen Alexandra Children's Hospital with recording artist Mahri Sherlock.
Outside of his musical career, Karel was elected to be mayor in his home municipality, the District of Highlands , in December of 1999.
In his spare time, Karel still loves to play the piano and plays in clubs, concert halls and in the studio whenever possible. He writes jazz tunes for his own and other groups, and has played with jazz greats such as Bud Shank, Ian MacDougall, Pat LaBarbera, Don Clark, Floyd Standifer, Roy Reynolds and many well-known vocalists. He's regularly asked to play at jazz festivals as both leader and sideman, and leads his own trio and quintet regularly at the Victoria International Jazz Festival.