Karen Lim-Smith started playing the piano by ear at 2. Five years later, she went on to win her first piano competition. At 8, she had also picked up the violin. At 14, she won her first major violin competition. Not only did she win the coveted first prize at the Mozart National String Competition, but also a free trip to Amsterdam to study with Theo Olof, former concertmaster of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.
At 17, she won her first full scholarship abroad to study with Alice Waten at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. After graduating with a Diploma in Music with Distinction, she followed Waten to Australia, where she won another full scholarship to undertake her bachelorís degree in violin performance at the Canberra School of Music, which is affiliated with the Australian National University. Three years later, she moved to Sydney to complete her bachelorís degree with honors at the Australian Institute of Music.
While a student at the Canberra School of music, she was selected as the only Malaysian delegate to participate with the World Youth Orchestra. The orchestra toured the Philippines, South Korea, and Malaysia in 1995 as well as Denmark and Germany in 1996.
She graduated in 2003 with a masterís degree in violin performance as well as a masterís degree in journalism from the University of North Texas (UNT). At UNT, she studied with Igor Borodin. Over the years, she has also studied with Amadeus Heutling (member of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra), Emanuel Borok (concertmaster of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra) and Susan Demetris (concertmaster of the Dallas Opera).
Karen is a very active performer and teacher. In 2000, she toured with Andrea Bocelli and Diana Ross and the Supremes throughout the United States. She also appears frequently with the Dallas Opera Orchestra and the Tulsa Opera Orchestra during the operatic seasons. Karen also performs on baroque instruments with the Forth Worth Early Music and the Orchestra of New Spain.
Some of Mrs. Lim-Smithís students are members of the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra and the Dallas Asian-American Youth Orchestra.