A founding member of the Catalyst Quartet, Karla Donehew Perez maintains a busy performance schedule throughout the US and abroad. Hailed by the New York Times at their Carnegie Hall debut as “invariably energetic and finely burnished…playing with earthy vigor,” the Catalyst Quartet is comprised of top Laureates and alumni of the internationally acclaimed Sphinx Competition for young Black and Latino string players.
Born in Puerto Rico, Karla began playing the violin at age three. At age twelve, Karla and her family moved to California where she continued her studies with Anne Crowden, director and founder of The Crowden School. Karla completed her Bachelors and Masters degrees at the Cleveland Institute of Music, studying performance with the heralded violin teachers Paul Kantor, David Cerone, and William Preucil. As a chamber musician she has collaborated with artists such as Fredericka Von Stade, Garry Karr, members of the Guaneri, Juilliard and Takacs Quartets, among others. As a soloist she has performed with many ensembles including the Berkeley Symphony, Sacramento Philharmonic, San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, Oakland East Bay Symphony, Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Sphinx Symphony Orchestra, Sphinx Chamber Orchestra and the New World Symphony. Karla also spent two years as a fellow at the New World Symphony, where she was often concertmaster or principal second violin.
Karla is married to Paul Laraia, Violist of the Catalyst Quartet. She performs on a violin made in 2013 by renowned German luthier Stefan Peter Grenier, supported in part by a Sphinx MPower Artist Grant, and a fine violin bow by Victor Fetique on generous loan from the Rachel Elizabeth Barton Foundation.