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Karin Okada is the daughter of Kunitaka an advertising and PR executive, and Emiko Okada, a descendant of Zen master, an archer Heijiro Anzawa. At age of 5, after the death of grandfather, Karin was sent to live with widowed grandmother Asako, who lived alone and taught piano and conducted choir in the snowy prefecture of Yamagata. There she learned piano, organ, violin, Japanese song, and mastered Zen and the art of living through music. She returned to Tokyo a year later to attend elementary school where her musical talents placed her in a position as an accompanist in the Tokyo school choir, as well as a baritone saxophonist in the brass band. At age of 13, Karin's growing fascination with music and the world lead her to study in Wells Cathedral School, Somerset, England.
In England, Karin gained dexterity and knowledge in piano, opera and composition. She also played harp, sang in the cathedral choir, and studied fine art. At age 17, Karin began to perform and compose in contemporary genres such as Jazz and Bossa Nova, and began to experiment with odd meters. After discovery of "African Sanctus" by David Fanshawe, she felt a strong desire to further study the musical language beyond classical and left to study at Berklee in the United States.
After graduating from Berklee with a film scoring degree, Karin moved to New York City, and continued her studies at Queens College under pianist and arranger Sir Rolland Hanna, disciple of Duke Ellington, living Jazz vocal legend Sheila Jordan, and academy nominated arranger Michael Philip Mossman. Karin was selected to sing her original composition with Betty Carter Jazz Ahead, at the Kennedy center, Washington, DC and was accepted a full scholarship to the BMI Jazz composer's workshop.
In New York, Karin held weekly residency at Ciao Bella in Greenwich Village, and Anyway Cafe in Brooklyn. There she performed her original compositions as well as Jazz and Brazilian music on piano and vocals. Karin also held a faculty and accompanist position at the Jazz department of the Brooklyn Conservatory. She performed with her quintet, and worked as ministry of music, pianist and choir director at a Gospel church. She has performed at notable venues such as Body and Soul Tokyo, Cape Town Jazz Festival, South Africa, the Zink bar with guitarist Ron Affif, and BAM with guitarist Lionel Loueke.
In 2009 Karin moved to Los Angeles and began teaching at Shepherd University. There she taught performance and writing in the contemporary music department. In 2010, Karin began to work as a music coordinator for composer Lucas Vidal (Fast & furious 6) and in 2011 Karin's first short film score for Morya (2011) won a Silver Medal at the Park City Film Music Festival. Her most recent score for Revenge of Hayabusa (2013) won the best original score at the Los Angeles Cinema Festival of Hollywood. As a singer Karin recorded the entire score for Christopher Young's God Behaving badly, directed by Marc Turtletaub. Karin remains true to her voice as an artist, all while serving the story, audience, and the vision of the director.
The Real Miyagi
Gods Behaving Badly
Give Me a Ring
THE BEST ORIGINAL SCORE -Los Angeles Cinema Festival, winter 2013
Cannes Film Festival -2016, 2015Park City Film Music Festival 2012
Park City Film Music Festival 2012