Karl Williams was born and raised in Montreal, in a family of professional musicians. Although a violinist since his youth, Karl only started playing percussion at 20 years of age, and began a bachelor’s degree at McGill University with Andrei Malashenko the following year. In his second year at the school, Karl won the second prize at the Montreal Symphony concerto competition, and would eventually become a fellow at the Pacific Music Festival that same summer. This was the first of many summer festivals for Karl, which would include two summers at the Tanglewood Music Center, and a summer at the National Repertory Orchestra. In 2005, he was awarded a full scholarship to Boston University where he earned a Master’s Degree under the tutelage of Tim Genis, and once completed he would receive a grant from the Canada Council of the Arts to study in Vienna with Anton Mittermayr for a year.
Upon his return, Karl worked as a regular extra with the Montreal Symphony for three years, during which time he was part of three international tours, and the recording of two CD‘s. In 2010, he won the position of Principal Percussion of the Victoria Symphony, where he remains to this day, playing music and sailing.