Become a Virtual Harp Summit Insider
(be one of the first to know about VHS.3)
Alice Giles is one of the world’s leading harp soloists. She won First Prize in the 8th Israel International Harp Contest at the age of 21. Since then she has performed extensively both in recital and with orchestras in Europe, America, Australia, and Israel. She has given many premiere performances, has commissioned a complete program of new works for the electro-acoustic harp, and is Artistic Director of the Seven Harp Ensemble (SHE), which has also commissioned many new works by Australian composers.
"For the past twenty years my livelihood has been involved in the offering of music on a one-to-one basis for fragile, vulnerable people in medical settings; the offering of compassionate care through music.The effect of my music has been the subject of university research and over the years the notion of a bloke playing harp at the bedside of patients has come to be widely accepted and valued in the hospitals where I work."
Harpist/composer Josh Layne has been called a 'harp genius' and a 'consummate musician'. As a performer he has given solo recitals across Canada, the US, and in Europe and South America as well as giving performances of five of the major harp concertos. In Fall 2010 Josh started a biweekly video series on YouTube called "Harp Tuesday", where he talks about various aspects of playing the harp - from your first lesson, to in-depth looks at advanced music.
Cynthia Cathcart is an expert on the Clàrsach, the wire strung harp of Scotland and Ireland. Performing and teaching internationally, she is a leader in a continuing wave of interest in this rare instrument. She has written several books for the clàrsach, including a primer and collections of her arrangements of traditional music, as well as contributing her regular column Ringing Strings for the Folk Harp Journal. She is also a co-founder of the website www.WireStrungharp.com, a resource of history, information and inspiration for the instrument.
"Hi, I’m Christy-Lyn! I’m the singer-harpist from Cape Town, South Africa with a clear, angelic voice and a passion for performing. I love making a difference in a person’s day by the sincerity of a song that touches the heart. I’m also on a mission to encourage other harpists in their musical journeys and make harp more accessible internationally."
California & Indiana, US
Harpist and teacher Linda Wood holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Redlands and a Master of Music degree from the University of Southern California. Her numerous honors and awards include the World Harp Congress Award of Recognition for Service to the International Harp Community (2002), the Distinguished Alumni Award (Univ. of Redlands, 1987), to name a few. She has published over 15 volumes of music and teaching materials for the harp and is co-owner and publisher of Music Works-Harp Editions with Susann McDonald.
Pedal harpist Susann McDonald studied at the Paris Conservatory and was the first American to receive the Premier Prix de Harpe. Her teachers included Marie Ludwig, Lily Laskine, and Henriette Renie. Susann has performed, recorded and arranged many important works for harp. She is also an influential teacher: a former faculty member and former chair of the harp departments at the Juilliard School, the University of Southern California, the University of Arizona, and California State University at Los Angeles, she has also taught master classes throughout the world. She has also served as the artistic director of the World Harp Congress and is the honorary president of the Association Internationale des Harpists, Paris.
North Carolina, US
In the late 70's, Dave went to school for cabinetmaking, then furniture design and finally opened a small cabinet and furniture business. In 1984 he made his first instrument - a hammered dulcimer, built from plans found in the back of a book. Since 1987 he's been building instruments full time. Even after all these years the harps continue to evolve. Dave started developing a carbon fiber harp in late 2008. The popularity of the carbon fiber harps finally dictated that Dave no longer build wood harps as of 2010. We now have 3 lever harp models and a pedal harp model that are making a difference in how and where harps are played around the world.
Having taught music in the public schools of Sonoma County, California for over 30 years, and the recipient of "Teacher of the Year" honors, John Metras has an understanding of music and musicianship and a unique ability to convey it to others, both in his performances and workshops. John is equally versed in the classical repertoire as well as on pop and jazz standards and Broadway and show tunes. John won first place in the 2004 Lyon & Healy International Jazz and Pop Harpfest performing his set on the cross-strung harp. He has been a strong proponent of the cross-strung harp for the past two decades, writing numerous books of arrangements and a method for the cross-strung harp.
Claire Happel is a committed performer in music and movement with interests spanning from eighteenth century works to pieces by emerging artists of today. She has performed at the American Harp Society Summer Institutes in Chicago, Tacoma, and Logan, Utah, and presented on the Alexander Technique at the World Harp Congress in Dublin. Her perspective on coordination is largely influenced by the Alexander Technique.Any chance she can get to improvise, sing, or try something new, she will happily take.
Angie Thusius was born in Bremen, Germany, grew up in Honduras and lived with her husband in Paris for 20 years. At 30, she fell down two flights of stairs causing debilitating back, hip, sacral and neck injuries. 10 years of therapy only gave short relief. She became a certified Iyengar Yoga Instructor but was still in pain. Thusius let go of all prescribed postures and forms, to focus on the source of healthy motion. She soon developed Kentro, through which she finally overcame years of pain and stiffness. For over 35 years, Angie has researched the motion of young children and adults throughout the world, who experience a strong, limber back and body into old age. Through her observations she discovered the common denominators for natural, free, motion. She has taught the Kentro Body Balance method since 1986 throughout Europe, North and Central America.
Principal Harp with Christchurch Symphony, Helen Webby loves to take her big and small harps out to traditional sessions, ceilidh bands, solo and chamber concerts, and to have fun with musicians and friends. Her tutorsinclude Rebecca Harris (NZ), Edward Witsenburg (Holland) and Maria Graf (Germany), and she graduated with Diplom Harfe from the Hochschule for Music in Hamburg. Principal Harp with Christchurch Symphony since 2000, she also records and tours on Celtic harp with Scottish guitarist Davy Stuart, and with Les Bons Vivants for Chamber Music New Zealand. A passionate advocate of contemporary and community music, Helen founded the Christchurch Harp Orchestra in 2010, and in 2012 commissioned nine NZ composers to write for her CD Pluck (MANU). Pluck was nominated for Best Classical CD in the 2013 NZ Music Awards, and was made into a DVD film Harps Make Fine Companions, recently screened by Television New Zealand. Helen performs on a concert harp and lever harp built of NZ Red Beech by her brother Kim Webby. www.harp.co.nz
Diana Stork has been well known in the international harp world for over two decades for her eclectic style which incorporates ethnic, classical and contemporary harp traditions. Based in the San Francisco Bay area, Diana has performed for such diverse groups as the Line’s Contemporary Ballet, the Maihar Orchestra of Maestro Ali Akbar Khan, and the Peace Ceremony of Thich Nhat Hahn at Grace Cathedral.
Rachel, from the Highland village of Ullapool, is a prominent performer in the Scottish Traditional Music scene. She has released 4 critically acclaimed albums and toured extensively throughout Europe, the USA and beyond. Based in Glasgow, a Scottish city renowned for its melting pot of musical and cultural style, Rachel is passionate about promoting the harp. She strives to open up fresh horizons for it, removing it from its stereotypical, stuffy ballroom image, whilst always remaining true to her Highland roots.
Sunita's career has spanned the modern renaissance of the harp. Over the past twenty years, together with a handful of colleagues, Sunita has played a significant role in this phenomenon. Her career has become a role model for many aspiring musicians and her books of harp arrangements have brought new music within the reach of harpists. Her 20+ recordings and compilations of classical, Rock, New Age, Celtic and Jewish music have demonstrated both the emancipation of the harp and Sunita's amazing breadth of talent.
A master in the performance and traditions of the Gaelic harp, Ann Heymann continues to spearhead the instrument's revival. From the start she chose to play in the traditional manner: resting the harp on her left shoulder so the right hand plays the bass and the left hand plays the treble, striking the brass strings with her fingernails, and damping with the fingerpads. Known for her symbiotic relationship with her instrument and her ability to wed performance practice with the recorded literary tradition, Ann is the foremost exponent of wire strung harp in the world.
Judy Kadar, the Hungarian born harpist and pioneer in the field of historical harp, began her harp studies at the famous High School of Music and Art in New York City. She attended New York University, Mannes College of Music and Sarah Lawrence College where she earned a Master’s Degree in the performance of Medieval and Renaissance music. Harp instruction with Lucile Lawrence was an inspiration both during and after her formal education. In 1984, she created and directed the Annual Historical Harp Conference which met at the Amherst Early Music Festival for seven years. The Historical Harp Society grew out of this ongoing event. 27 years ago, together with historical wind instrument specialist Klaus Sonnemann, she founded and continues to co-direct the ensemble Collage-forum fuer fruehe musik berlin (forum for early music) which continues perform regularly. Judy is featured in many radio and CD recordings.
Mike Parker initially studied the building and restoring of ‘early’ and folk harps. His repertoire covers many styles of music from ‘early’ and folk styles through baroque and classical and into the world of ‘light music’ and pop. He is the only Englishman to have been awarded Olamh Sui (Doctorate) by the Institute of Traditional Celtic Music, which was awarded for his work relating to the historical usage of the harp in the Celtic nations. He researches all aspects of the historical harp and modern folk music, resulting in a collection of 25 harps, ranging from a small instrument with 12 horsehair strings, through to the double action pedal harp, to enable him to use the most appropriate instrument and technique for each type of music.
Karen Gottlieb has performed with the San Francisco Symphony for more than 25 years. She toured extensively with them, and performed on their many Grammy Award-winning recordings and DVDs. For 20 years she served as principal harpist with the California Symphony. She has recorded multiple major film, TV and video game soundtracks with the Skywalker Recording Symphony. She teaches harp at SF State University, Mills College and privately. As a certified harp technician for Lyon & Healy and Salvi Harps, Karen maintains and repairs harps locally and internationally.
Beth Kollé is admittedly nuts about the harp, and Celtic and Nordic music. She has made her career out of these obsessions by performing, teaching, recording and publishing harp music from the Celtic and Nordic lands. She also sings and performs on flute and Irish pennywhistle, and is the founder of the Harpa Tours.
Sacramento Magazine says, “Kosako plays with fluid, modern style that evokes Keith Jarrett and Chick Corea.” His groundbreaking style is also noted in Harp Column as “Motoshi Kosako's introspective soloing was reminiscent of Keith Jarrett.” He plays numerous original compositions and standards as solo or in trio and quartet. Since 2008 he started touring Japan to give performances and workshops. He is considered the most influential Jazz harpist in Japan.e...
An award-winning musical artist performing worldwide, Dr. Diana Rowan’s playing and compositions have unusual power and beauty. She integrates global musical traditions with fluency and reverence. Born in Ireland and raised the child of an Irish diplomat, Diana has traveled, lived and performed on six continents. As a natural outgrowth of this inspiration, her music interweaves global music, art, spirituality and mythology.
For over twenty years Harper Tasche has shared his distinctive and emotionally compelling performances, and his obvious passion for teaching, at major harp events across the USA and Canada. Harper’s marketing director wants to push recordings and publications – but for Harper, it’s all about making music as evocative and expressive as possible.
A New Zealand born harpist of Samoan descent, Natalia Mann combines a classical foundation with a natural aptitude for experimentation. As a recording and performing artist, she has a great capacity for adaptation to extremely diverse musical contexts. From various world music styles through to contemporary, electronic and meditative forms, Natalia brings grace and originality to all of her collaborations.
Denise Grupp-Verbon completed her Master's Degree in Harp Performance at Northwestern University. In addition to her college career, Denise studied harp privately, for many years, with Mr. Edward Druzinsky, Principal Harpist with The Chicago Symphony Orchestra for 40 years.
Julia Kay Jamieson is an energetic performer, dedicated teacher and inspired composer and arranger. She is a professional freelance harpist comfortable with playing a variety of musical styles from classical to popular, jazz, Celtic, religious or folk. She plays pedal, lever and single-action harps and has a Masters degree in harp performance. Julia has won numerous honors for both her playing and teaching.
"Creativity gives meaning to my passion. I live for the unexpected, a magical moment on stage that brings joy to all present. Composing and arranging the music I perform gives purpose to my work. I deeply enjoy the searching, exploring and discovering process."
The extraordinary harpist Dr. Maria Christina Cleary from Ireland, “a pioneer of period harp practice” has been described as “a true virtuoso”, and a “brilliant player”. She is noted for her improvisatory skills and ingenious continuo playing, combined with a particular care to creating a beautiful sound on a perilous instrument. Maria just completed her PhD on the art of quiet/silent pedaling.
San Francisco, USA
Harpist, singer, and composer Liza Wallace brings a new dimension to the harp’s role in contemporary music. Originally from San Francisco, CA, she has traveled around the world to study, teach, and perform, most recently touring in Mexico, Brazil, and Germany. She has performed and recorded with such artists as Sir Elton John and Sylvia McNair and has released two albums of her music.
Hannelore Devaere focuses on the music of Spain and Italy from the Renaissance and Baroque eras. As a soloist she can be heard on many recordings and is often featured on national radio. As a continuo player, she records regularly with many national and international ensembles. Hannelore teaches the harp, continuo, improvisation and primary-source reading and is often invited to give masterclasses in Belgium and abroad.