"A true virtuoso."

1986 International Autoharp Champion

2006 Autoharp Hall of Fame

2012-13 McKnight Fellow


Karen Mueller’s Accent on Dulcimer is a 15-track retrospective from a storied performing, recording and teaching career....In this recording, she gathers her favorite tunes.  Some include the autoharp but all feature mountain dulcimer.  She explores the many moods of dulcimer, giving evidence of musical flexibility, playfulness and facility....First I must say, this is an entrancing recording. The trance is such that as soon as it is the final cut is complete, I can’t wait to begin playing it all over again!

Karen's longtime dulcimer student Grant Olson has won first place in the National Mountain Dulcimer Championship in Winfield, Kansas. The talented 17 year old has been studying with Karen for six years. He played arrangements of classical, ragtime, and old-time fiddle music, and wowed the judges and crowd with his fine performance. Congratulations to him!

Announcing New CD, Accent on Dulcimer!
Karen is celebrating 40 years of mountain dulcimer playing! This retrospective collection of dynamic instrumentals ranges from energetic Irish tunes to reflective fingerpicking and jazz. Includes solos as well as arrangements with autoharp, mandolin, cello, bagpipes and more.

The West Bank School of Music was a staple of the Twin Cities music scene since the 1970s, and sadly closed its doors at the end of March, 2018. Karen had been on the faculty there since 1989, when she first moved to Minneapolis. She has been able to find a new studio space to teach her students from West Bank and anyone preferring a more north/east metro location, near the University of Minnesota. Email Karen for more information on this new studio.

Following Karen's January teaching week at the Folk School, she talked with host Leah Dolgoy about her musical past and teaching philosophies. See the full interview here:


Review of “Solo Autoharp”

Autoharp Quarterly, Winter 2013

By Stew Schneider


In the unlikely event there is anyone

connected with the autoharp who has not

heard of Ms. Mueller, this much be said:

she is either the most talented performer

on the autoharp who regularly teaches,

or she is the most gifted teacher who

actively performs.


It is not only her technical perfection

that makes her playing so riveting. It is

her impeccable control of timing and

dynamics, the downright musicality of

her playing and her effortless use of the

entire harp. The exceptional La Partida is

something any player should experience, not

once, but many times and with a tear in

the eye for that which will never be.


This CD includes the sheet music as PDFs

accessible from your computer.

This makes the CD uniquely valuable

to those who can discern music from

dots on a page. It reflects her passion for

teaching and her generosity to have gone

to the trouble to make arrangements, transcribe

them and make them available.

The music included is, as you might

guess, flawless or as near to as makes no


As part of her year as a McKnight Fellow for Performing Musicians, Karen is offering a free introductory autoharp workshop on Saturday August 3, 10:00 a.m.-noon, at the West Bank School of Music, 1813 S. 6th St., Minneapolis. 

This workshop is for new players, especially for teachers, music therapists and others using music in their work. Please RSVP to karen@karenmueller.com to reserve your place. Karen has a few autoharps to loan for the class if reserved in advance.



Minnesota Public Radio has run a nice story + audio interview with Karen that you can find here:


Karen's new CD, "Solo Autoharp," is finished and now available. It'a a 5-track EP (extended play) that also includes the sheet music for all 9 tunes in PDFs for you to print from your computer. See the Store for ordering information.

Tracks: 1. La Partida (South American)
2. Hyfrydol (hymn tune by Rowland Prichard, Wales)
3. Grannens Bastu (trad. Swedish) / Konvulsionslåten (Anders Norudde, Sweden)
4. Larry O’Gaff / Kesh Jig (trad. Irish)
5. Bridget Cruise, Third Air (Turlough O’Carolan, Ireland) / Christmas Day Ida Morning / Far From Home (trad. Shetland Island).

MacPhail Center for Music recently awarded four $25,000 McKnight Artists Fellowships to Minnesota’s finest performing musicians. For the 16th year, MacPhail administered the competition, a component of the McKnight Foundation Artist Fellowships program, which is intended to provide recognition and financial support to Minnesota musicians as they explore and develop their skills. The fellowships ultimately serve to enrich Minnesota’s cultural community. Of the 94 soloists and ensembles that applied for the fellowships by submitting recordings, artist statements and resumes, nine solo/ensemble finalists were chosen, by a panel of national judges, to perform in a live audition on May 4. Of the nine finalists, four soloists/ensembles were each awarded a $25,000 fellowship. For more information visit: www.mcknight.org.

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Coming Up

  • Feb 7
    Florida Acoustic Winter Gathering,  Mt. Dora
  • May 12
    California Autoharp Gathering,  Dunlap, CA
  • Jun 11
    Ozark Folk Center,  Mountain View
  • Jun 24
    Mountain Laurel Autoharp Gathering,  Newport
  • Jul 19
    Swannanoa Gathering Old-Time Week,  Asheville