Kate Olson

Lecturer - Jazz, Improvisation

Kate Olson
  • Professional
  • Biography


  • BA, Music (Jazz Emphasis), University of Wyoming
  • MM, Improvisation, University of Michigan


Kate Olson is an improvising saxophonist and music educator based in Seattle, WA. Since moving to Seattle in 2010, she has done her best to infiltrate the local, regional and international improvised music scenes. She can be heard performing with her own projects KO SOLO and KO ELECTRIC, and as a collaborator with the Royal Room Collective Music Ensemble and Electric Circus (led by Wayne Horvitz), Birch Pereira and the Gin Joints, Battlestar Kalakala (formerly West Seattle Soul/the Pulsations) and with such Seattle staples as the Seattle Men’s and Women’s Choruses and cabaret producers Can Can Presents and Verlaine & McCann. Kate has a BA in Music (Jazz Emphasis) from the University of Wyoming and an MM in Improvisation from the University of Michigan, and is currently on the jazz faculty at Pacific Lutheran University.

Kate’s international resume continues to grow, including performances in Russia, Latvia, Turkey, Switzerland, South Korea, Cuba, and Slovakia. She has appeared on stage with Terry Riley, Pauline Oliveros, Bobby Previte, Skerik, Patricia Barber, Elvis Costello, Brandi Carlile, Sir Mix-a-lot, Seattle Repertory Theater, Cafe Nordo, the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra and Seattle Symphony Pops, among others. Kate was nominated in 2011 and 2013 for the Earshot Golden Ear Award in the Emerging Artist category, and in 2014 and 2016, she was nominated for the Best NW Instrumentalist Category, and in 2016 her band KO Ensemble was also nominated as best NW Alternative Group. In 2020 the KO Ensemble won the Golden Ear Award for best NW Instrumental Group and in 2022, KO Electric was nominated for Best Alternative Group.