KAREN HAID INHERITED HER LOVE OF ITALY and its traditions from her parents. Raised on a wholesome diet that featured plenty of pasta, she learned the meaning of “al dente” before it was in vogue. Karen went on to study the Italian language and culture at schools in Rome, Florence, Lucca, Sorrento, Taormina and Reggio Calabria, and earned Dante Alighieri Society’s Advanced Certification of mother tongue equivalency, as well as credentials to teach the Italian language and culture from Reggio Calabria’s University for Foreigners. She teaches, translates and writes on Italy and other topics. Her travel writing capitalizes on her experience as a tour leader for educational excursions throughout Europe in which she developed a talent for encapsulating the essential information intrinsic to the understanding of a civilization, whether to aid in communication directly with a native inhabitant or to enhance one’s world view from a comfortable armchair at home.
In Calabria: The Other Italy, she attempts to answer the question, “But why Calabria?” that so many Italians, Calabrian and non, continually asked, not able to fathom what could have possibly lured an American without Calabrian blood to linger on their shores any longer than a brief summer vacation or a pass through on the way to Sicily. However, from the moment she set foot on Calabrian soil, the author was intrigued by the characteristic determination of the Calabrese people, the wealth of its history and art, the beauty and variety of its landscape, and its rich culture, most often celebrated in terms of extraordinary culinary offerings. Calabria: The Other Italy grew out of her four-year immersion, observing, interacting and absorbing the wonders of the people and the place.
Karen continues her exploration of the bel paese with Basilicata: Authentic Italy, in which she presents another lesser-known region of incredible depth and diversity packed into the unassuming instep of the Italian boot. And in addition to her writing for armchair travelers, she personally escorts visitors on her own tours of Southern Italy with her company Karen’s Travel LLC.
BC – Before Calabria
Music was Karen’s principal focus for many years, starting out on the piano at the age of 4 and adding the flute several years later. She received a Diploma from the Juilliard School’s Preparatory Division, the Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from Boston University and the Doctor of Music from Florida State University. Along the way she studied composition and a few related instruments – the harpsichord, organ and Baroque flute. Having performed in all manner of musical presentation, her longest stint as an ensemble musician was seven years as piccoloist with the Richmond Symphony in Virginia. Teaching credentials include Virginia Commonwealth University, Florida State, and the University of Alaska. She was also an Artist Fellow of the State of Nevada.
Perhaps one of her more unusual musical accomplishments is her compact disc The Music of Walter Gieseking (Nimbus 5696) on which she is featured playing both the flute and piano, often simultaneously. The tracks were recorded without any studio tricks.