Karl Kohn was born in Vienna in 1926, and was educated in New York and at Harvard. He has been a Fulbright Research Scholar in Helsinki, and has held fellowship grants from the Guggenheim, Howard, and Mellon Foundations, as well as four fellowship-grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. Kohn taught several summers on the faculty of the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood. He is W. M. Keck Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus at Pomona College.
With his wife, Margaret, he has given two-piano concerts throughout this country and Europe, including definitive performances of works by Bartók, Berio, Stravinsky, Messiaen, Ligeti, and Boulez. Kohn served for two decades on the board of directors of the Monday Evening Concerts in Los Angeles.
His works have been performed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestras, the Oakland Symphony, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, on the San Francisco Symphony's Musica Viva series, at the Monday Evening Concerts in Los Angeles, and in concerts and broadcasts throughout the United States and abroad.
Karl Kohn's principal publishers are Carl Fischer Music, New York, GunMar Music, Inc., (from Shawnee Press, Delaware Water Gap, PA) and Edition Contemp Art, Vienna.