PERFORMERS/PRESENTERS

Apple Orange Pair: Colleen Potter Thorburn & Emily Boyer
Lynne Aspnes
Laura Logan Brandenburg
Courtney Hershey Bress
Cheryl Dungan Cunningham
Alaina Graiser
Elizabeth Hainen
Linda-Rose Hembreiker
Julia Kay Jamieson
Julie Gaisford Keyes
Lilac 94: Christina Brier & Kathryn Sloat
Los Angeles Harp Ensemble: Jessica Brizuela, Linda Rose-Hembreiker, Elaine Litster, Hee Jin Yoon
Ann McLaughlin & Austin Gelber
Alexandra Katelyn Mullins
Julie Smith Phillips
River Town Duo: Claire Happel & Philip Alejo
Salzedo Harp Ensemble: Elizabeth Hainen, Héloïse Carlean-Jones, Helen Gerhold, Abigail Kent, Anna Odell
Julie Mitton Staples
Teresa Suen-Campbell & Yuki Ip Po-Ching
Anne Sullivan
Zoe Vandermeer
Laura Zaerr

 

Apple Orange Pair: Colleen Potter Thorburn & Emily Boyer

Apple Orange Pair
Emily Boyer, horn, and Colleen Potter Thorburn, harp, are Apple Orange Pair, a dynamic classical duo that performs original and transcribed works for horn and harp. The duo focuses on delivering thoughtfully-constructed, delightful, and educational concerts of classical music for audiences of all types. Their performances are community-oriented and presented in compelling programs that are tailored to both music lovers as well as newcomers to classical music.

In addition to presenting innovative concert programs, Apple Orange Pair is especially committed to advancing the 21st-century repertoire for horn and harp. As a 2011-2012 grant recipient of Yale's alumniVentures program, the duo commissioned and gave premiere performances throughout New England of new pieces by composers Michael Weinstein-Reiman, Naftali Schindler, and S. Beth May. These pieces are prominently featured on Apple Orange Pair's first album, “Seeds,” released in 2013.

Since its inception in 2010, Apple Orange Pair has performed in Connecticut, in New York City, in Virginia and West Virginia, and as artists-in-residence at the Atlantic Music Festival in Maine. They have collaborated with local businesses and artists for several concerts, performed house and benefit concerts for regional charities such as the Connecticut Food Bank, given musical demonstrations in schools, and been featured on public television. The 2014-2015 season finds them performing in Abingdon, Virginia, as Virginia Commission for the Arts grant recipients; at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville; in New York City collaborating with Duo Mango; and completing a chamber music residency at Avaloch Farm in New Hampshire as they continue commissioning and learning new music.

Emily (Engle) Boyer, horn, is active as a performer and music educator in Connecticut. In addition to performing regularly as a freelance orchestral player in Connecticut and New York ensembles, she is a founding member of the West Rock Brass Quintet, which performs concerts and educational demonstrations throughout Connecticut.

As an educator, Emily teaches both Music History and Appreciation and private brass lessons at Naugatuck Valley Community College, maintains a private horn studio, and coaches brass lessons at several public schools. Emily also serves as the Director of Arts at Christ Presbyterian Church New Haven, where her work includes coordinating the biannual Live@135 concert series and curating a visual arts gallery located in the church.

In the past, Emily has performed with orchestras and chamber groups at music festivals in North America and Europe. Her festival credits include the Aspen Music Festival in Colorado, the Atlantic Music Festival in Maine, the Banff Music Festival in Canada, and the Institut Musical de Provence-Aubagne Music Festival in Aix-en-Provence, France. Emily has also toured the US southern states and Midwest with Cornerstone Chorale and Brass, a production based in St. Louis, Missouri. During her professional studies, Emily was the recipient of Peabody Conservatory’s Career Grant, and she performed in a featured chamber music group at the Yale School of Music while in the master’s program.

Emily is a graduate of the Interlochen Arts Academy and has a Bachelor of Music degree from Peabody Conservatory and a Master of Music degree from Yale School of Music. Her primary horn teachers include Julie Schleif, Peter Landgren, William Purvis, and Denise Tryon.

Colleen Potter Thorburn, harpist, is establishing a career for herself as an orchestral player, chamber musician, and soloist based on the US East Coast. Currently living in southwest Virginia, she travels regularly to perform with the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra in New London, Connecticut, with whom she plays principal harp, and has recently presented several concerts as a guest soloist and chamber musician on community and university concert series in West Virginia, Virginia, and Maryland. Colleen is honored to be listed in the Virginia Commission for the Arts’ artist directory as a Touring Artist; in this role, she presents solo harp recitals, chamber music concerts, and educational concerts at institutions throughout the state.

When not performing, Colleen teaches private harp and piano lessons through Bluefield College’s Fine Arts Community School in Bluefield, Virginia; teaches online music courses and elective harp lessons as an adjunct instructor at Bluefield College; and teaches harp at Coda Mountain Academy in West Virginia. She is also an active member and officer in the newly-reactivated Southwest Virginia Chapter of the American Harp Society.

In the past, Colleen has performed with musical ensembles across the United States, including Opera Illinois in Peoria, Symphony Nova in Boston, and the Yale Philharmonia in New Haven and Carnegie Hall. She has performed as a harp fellow and young artist at the Aspen Music Festival in Colorado, the Round Top music festival in Texas, the Atlantic Music Festival in Maine, and as a faculty artist at Credo in Ohio. As a soloist, she has competed in the American Harp Society’s national competitions and been recognized with top prizes for her solo playing in the American Harp Society's Anne Adams Awards competition.

In May 2015, Colleen will be the first harpist to have earned a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Yale School of Music. Colleen holds both Master of Musical Arts and Master of Music degrees from the Yale School of Music, as well as a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Illinois. Her primary teachers include June Han, Ann Yeung, and Laura Hearne.

 

Lynne Aspnes began her musical training in her native Minnesota with her mother, harpist Frances Miller. Aspnes is the Professor Emeritus of Harp from the University of Michigan School of Music, Ann Arbor, Michigan, and recently retired from the faculty of the Arizona State University School of Music.  Aspnes served on the faculty of the Interlochen Center for the Arts, in Interlochen Michigan for sixteen years.  Former students hold positions teaching and performing across the US and abroad.   Aspnes established the American Harp Center in 2012, designed to promote opportunities for emerging career harpists to continue their study of the harp with outstanding teachers and performers, whose contributions to the legacy of the harp represent the pinnacle of achievement on the instrument.

Aspnes’ performing and teaching career has taken her around the globe, from festivals in Australia, Europe, and South America, to concerts in Southeast Asia and across the North American continent.  She can be heard in recordings on the Collins Classics, Clarion, CRI, ProArte, ProOrgano, RCA Red Seal and Virgin Classics labels. The TrueNorth Harp Duo (Lynne Aspnes & John Wickey) released their first CD in 2011, on the SoundSet label. 

Concurrent with her academic teaching career, Aspnes served in music administrative positions at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre and Dance, as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Chair of the String Department, and Director of the Center for Career Development, and as Associate Dean for the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University. 

Additional teachers include Alice Chalifoux (Carlos Salzedo) during two summers at the Camden Harp Colony; the Master of Music degree at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, studying with Marcella DeCray (Henriette Renie) and the Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the Manhattan School of Music, studying with Jane Weidensaul (Marcel Grandjany).  Through utilizing the incredibly rich and varied learning experiences of her own training, Aspnes has done what she can to promote an understanding of and appreciation for the many contributions of great musicians to the legacy of the harp.

 

Laura Logan Brandenburg has served on the Texas Christian University School of Music faculty since 2001, where she teaches harp and harp pedagogy, coaches the TCU Harp Ensemble and is director of the TCU Summer Harp Workshop. She is founder, director and member of the Octavia Harp Ensemble, performing in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and beyond for the past 20 years. A highly regarded freelance harpist, Laura currently serves as Principal Harp with the Lewisville Lake Symphony. She held the position of Principal Harp with the Richardson Symphony Orchestra from 1990-2010 as well as Principal Harp in the Oklahoma City Philharmonic from 1995-1997. Her recent adventures on harp include concertizing with Jeff Walters as The Logan/Walters Harp Duo, performing all original transcriptions and arrangements for two harps.

Active as a camp clinician specializing in harp ensemble repertoire, Laura was founder and director of the popular HarpFire summer camp, which celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2010. In 2011, she organized and led one of two Institute Ensembles at the 9th Summer Institute of the American Harp Society, Inc. She has been Director of the TCU Summer Harp Workshop since 2012. She has conducted ensembles and presented workshops for the American Harp Society, Inc. in Dallas, the Harp in Worship
Conference, Harp Journeys and Harp Journeys Youth Festival. Laura has served as a long time Board member of the AHS, Inc. in Dallas chapter and is currently the Southwest Regional Director of the AHS, Inc. In addition to her duties at TCU, she maintains an active private Suzuki harp studio.

Laura considers her most significant lifetime achievement to be her two sons, Ethan and Luke, who have fallen asleep to the sound of harp music their entire lives and never once complained.

 

Courtney Hershey Bress joined the Colorado Symphony Orchestra as Principal Harp in 2001. She has appeared with the orchestra as a soloist on numerous occasions.  Before coming to Colorado, Ms. Bress enjoyed a wide and varied freelance career, including engagements with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.  She was also the Principal Harpist of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago.  She has served as Acting Principal of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and was Principal Harp with the United States Army Field Band in Washington, D.C. where she toured the 48 continental states, playing concertos and concerts.   Ms. Bress has been playing with the Grand Teton Music Festival since 2007 and the Strings Music Festival, Steamboat Springs, CO since 2011.  She held the Principal Harp position with the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in Santa Cruz, California for many years.  She has also performed as a guest artist with Colorado College Summer Music Festival. She was selected and performed for the American Harp Society and the World Harp Congress.

Ms. Bress is much sought-after as a teacher and has given masterclasses around the country.  In addition to her private teaching studio, she is the Affiliate Professor of Harp at Metropolitan State University of Denver and has been a visiting professor at the Eastman School of Music.  She has also served as a juror for the American Harp Society National Competition.  Additionally, she held the position of artist and clinician for the Midwest Harp Festival in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  Ms. Bress was a 2005 GRAMMY® nominee for her performance of George Crumb’s chamber work Ancient Voices of Children. She is a member of Duo Classique, a duo harp chamber group, with her mentor Kathleen Bride.  Besides recordings with Naxos, Bridge, and Albany records, one can find her music in many albums with the U.S. Army Field Band.  Ms. Bress earned a Bachelor of Music degree and the Performer’s Certificate from the Eastman School of Music and she received her Master of Music in Orchestral Studies from the Chicago College of Performing Arts, Roosevelt University.

 

Cheryl Dungan Cunningham has performed extensively in the mid-Atlantic region as a soloist, orchestral musician, and chamber musician. She is Principal Harpist with the  New Jersey Capital Philharmonic, Southeastern Pennsylvania Symphony Orchestra and Boheme Opera, NJ. As a member of Les Meslange des Plaisirs; The Fine Companions duo with flutist Amy Shimmin; Voix seraphique with keyboardist Kathleen Scheide; and as a founding member of the resident ensemble of the Southampton Chamber Music Society series, she frequently performs a wide variety of chamber music.

Equally active as a pedagogue and author, Cheryl maintains a busy private teaching studio, and has served as an Affiliate Artist Instructor at Cairn University. She was a contributing author to the American String Teacher’s Association publication, A Harp in the School: A Guide for School Ensemble Directors, and her articles about the harp have been published in the The Harp Column Magazine, American String Teacher, and AHS Teachers Forum. In 2008, she served as a judge for The Young Artist’s Harp Competition.

Cheryl currently serves as Chairman of the Board, Website Liaison and Director-at-Large of the American Harp Society, Inc. and is the longtime Treasurer of the Philadelphia Chapter of the AHS, Inc. From 2006-2010, she served as First Vice President of the AHS, Inc., and in 2004, she was Co-Chairman of the AHS, Inc. National Conference in Philadelphia. Cheryl earned Bachelor of Music in Harp, Bachelor of Music Education, and Master of Music in Harp degrees with High Distinction from Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, where she studied with Susann McDonald and Peter E. Eagle.

 

Alaina Graiser is the President of the Cincinnati Chapter of the American Harp Society and is currently completing her Doctor of Musical Arts degree in harp performance with a cognate in music education at the University of Cincinnati College­Conservatory of Music with Gillian Benet Sella, having studied with Judy Loman and Delaine Leonard in previous degrees. Mrs. Graiser is a registered Suzuki teacher and currently teaches the K­12 music classes with a curriculum she developed at the Leaves of Learning private school in Cincinnati. Current and upcoming projects include directing the third annual Cincinnati Summer Harp Camp, developing an online pedagogical database of harp repertoire, commissioning and premiering new works, and maintaining a private studio of over thirty­five students. Mrs. Graiser currently lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with her percussionist/composer husband Brian and their rabbits Beatrix and Sherlock.

 

Elizabeth Hainen has earned an international reputation as one of classical music’s great harp ambassadors. Hailed by the Washington Post for her “unusual presence with silky transparency” and by the New York Times for her “earthy solidarity,” Hainen has thrilled audiences throughout the world with programs showcasing the diversity—and virtuosity—of her modern-day instrument. As Solo Harpist with The Philadelphia Orchestra for over 19 years, she has presented numerous featured performances to captivated audiences and has been praised by the Philadelphia Inquirer for “her ability to blend and color the musical line,” and “to find transparency in an almost timeless atmosphere.” In high demand as a guest artist, Hainen has collaborated with such eminent conductors as Charles Dutoit, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Michael Tilson Thomas, and Wolfgang Sawallisch. In addition to The Philadelphia Orchestra, she has appeared as a featured soloist with the City of London Sinfonia, Iris Orchestra, Kennedy Center Orchestra, Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Colombia, Bulgaria National Radio Orchestra, Camerata Ducale in Italy, Chicago Civic Orchestra, Mexico State Symphony, the Vienna Boys Choir, and in numerous recitals at Carnegie Hall. “She is a complete harpist who knows and uses her instrument’s strength and brilliance and strikes its fire,” says the Miami Herald’s James Roos. “You miss nothing she wants you to hear.”

As a contemporary and chamber music enthusiast, Hainen has launched major commissioning projects, including works by Pulitzer Prize winners Bernard Rands and Melinda Wagner, the latter being a world premiere of Pan Journalwith the Juilliard String Quartet for the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society.  This season Hainen will treat audiences to the premiere of a new concerto commissioned for her by The Philadelphia Orchestra, written for her by acclaimed Beijing Olympics composer Tan Dun. The collaboration between composer and artist will prove to be a groundbreaking work for the harp community and classical fans. Hainen has performed at the festivals of Cartagena, Grand Tetons, Kingston, Marlboro, Sachsisch Bohmisches, and at the World Harp Congress; she has appeared on concert series by Lyon & Healy, the Korean Embassy in Costa Rica, the French Embassy in Washington D.C., the Cleveland Museum of Art, and the Saratoga Chamber Music Festival, among others. “The guest appearance by Elizabeth Hainen could certainly be counted among the high points of this year,” says The Saxon Times of Hainen’s appearance at the Saxon-Bohemia Music Festival in Meissen, Germany.

2013-14 brings Hainens’ fourth solo recording Les Amis, original works by Debussy and Caplet for the Avie label. Hainen’s discography includes the lushly romantic Music for Solo Harp on the Naxos label and a recording series for Lyon & Healy harps on the Egan label. “Elizabeth Hainen is a wonderful embodiment of the ‘new’ Philadelphia Sound and a perfect example of how the best musicians can make their instruments become a symphony orchestra, even on their own” The Harp Column on Music for Solo Harp. Hainen’s recently released Harp Concertos on the Avie label with Rossen Milanov and the Bulgarian National Orchestra, was given a four star review by The Telegraph(London): “The tonal range of Hainen’s playing, coupled with her technical finesse and sense of style, bring allure to the entire disc.”

A highly sought after harp pedagogue, Hainen serves on the faculties of the world-renowned Curtis Institute of Music and Temple University and has been invited to adjudicate major international harp competitions in the U.S. and in Europe. In 2004 she founded the Saratoga Harp Colony, in Saratoga N.Y., which welcomes approximately 20 of the most promising young harpists for two weeks of intensive study each summer. Through her nonprofit foundation The Lyra Society, Hainen has provided educational outreach to hundreds of school children in urban Philadelphia and the surrounding area.

Born in Toledo, Ohio, Elizabeth Hainen began the harp at age ten. Her extraordinary progress took her to her mentor and teacher, Susann McDonald, at Indiana University School of Music where she was awarded the “Performance Certificate,” and two degrees in performance. Ms. Hainen has been the recipient of numerous awards, including Winner of the American String Teachers Association and the Chicago Symphony Civic Orchestra Competitions, and Silver Medalist at the First USA International Harp Competition.

 

Los Angeles-based harpist Linda-Rose Hembreiker is deeply committed to the education of harpists. She maintains a private studio open to students of all ages and levels. In her teaching, she encourages excellence and fosters the development of a healthy technique to facilitate musical expression. Ms. Hembreiker’s students have performed at The National Catholic Educational Association Convention 2009 and the American Harp Society, Inc. Summer Institute 2013. For five years, Ms. Hembreiker directed harp programs at two Catholic elementary schools in Orange County, and in 2010 she gave a presentation at the American String Teachers Association National Conference titled “Harp-From Auxiliary to a Mainstream Instrument: Building and Maintaining a Successful Harp Program.” Currently she is a Teaching Artist for the Young Musicians Foundation, and chair of programming for the American Harp Society-Los Angeles chapter (AHS-LA).

A strong proponent of the Alexander Technique as a means of improving artistic facility and teaching, Ms. Hembreiker has written two articles about this method for the American Harp Journal, in addition to giving presentations on the harp and Alexander Technique for AHS-LA and at the 2008 AHS National Conference in Detroit with Alexander Technique teacher Phyllis Richmond.

Ms. Hembreiker currently plays with the Los Angeles Harp Ensemble, Chrysocolla Duo (with saxophonist Idit Shner) and Duo Mystère (with pianist Mei-En Chou). She is especially passionate about chamber music and music for harp and choir. Ms. Hembreiker is an avid performer of new music, challenging composers to expand the repertoire of the harp. She has premiered several new works for the instrument, including Yo Goto’s The Talking Trees Tell Great Secrets, Chapman Welch’s Four Pieces for Solo Harp, and James Worlton’s The Etiquette of Ice (commissioned by the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition at Brigham Young University). With the Quantum Trio, she premiered Chapman Welch’s Stratosphere Exit Scenarios in November 2013, and with the Los Angeles Harp Ensemble she premiered David Lefkowitz’s Double Double Vision in May of 2014. Upcoming premieres include a piece for piano and harp by Yo Goto made possible by a grant from the American Harp Society, Inc.

Linda-Rose Hembreiker holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Harp Performance from the University of Southern California, and Master’s of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in Harp Performance from the University of North Texas. Her principal teachers include Ellie Choate, JoAnn Turovsky, Ellen Ritscher, and Heidi Lehwalder.

 

Julia Kay Jamieson is an energetic performer, dedicated teacher, composer, and award-winning harpist living in Champaign, IL. A passionate advocate for new music, she is the principal harpist of the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, has given numerous world premiere performances and has performed in SEAMUS (Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the United States) conferences (2012 and 2007). Julia has been commissioned to write several harp ensemble pieces which have been performed across the country. Julia is a founding member and arranger for the harp quartet HarpCore 4, a group that performs popular music (mostly from the 80's), and she has arranged many popular and jazz pieces for solo harp. As a professional harpist, she won First Prize in the 2002 American String Teachers Association (ASTA) National Biennial Solo Competition. Julia was the winner of the University of Illinois School of Music Concerto Competition Finals in 2008 and has been a soloist with the Danville Symphony Orchestra (2009) and the Illinois Symphony Orchestra (2010).

From 2006 to 2011 Julia served as President of the Roslyn Rensch Central Illinois Chapter of the American Harp Society, Inc. and is currently serving on the AHS Board of Directors. She is Co-Chair of the Education Audition and Evaluations Committee and recently chaired the Education and Youth Task Force.

She studied with Jocelyn Chang in Cleveland, Susann McDonald at Indiana University (BM), and Ann Yeung at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (MM) where Julia served as teaching assistant. During her tenure as teaching assistant, she was awarded the highest teaching honor at The University of Illinois: the Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching (2009). Julia's interest in harp pedagogy has led to her writing teaching materials, giving several workshops and masterclasses for harpists and composers, and writing articles for the American Harp Journal's "Teachers Corner". Julia has been featured as a clinician, composer, and concert artist for events such as the Illinois Summer Harp Class in Urbana-Champaign and the University of Oregon Harp Day in Eugene. She is a faculty member of the Canadian International Summer Harp Institute.

 

For over two decades, Julie Gaisford Keyes has charmed audiences performing as an experienced classical and pop harpist. Julie made her debut with the Utah Symphony at the age of 15 and since then has performed all over the globe in cities such as Glasgow (Scotland), London, New York City, Los Angeles, Tucson, Denver, San Francisco. Las Vegas, Chicago, San Antonio, Pittsburgh and Salt Lake City. She is a two-time winner of the American Harp Society, Inc. National Harp Competition and a past winner of the Ruth Lorraine Close Competition. Currently Julie performs with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square appearing frequently on the longest live national radio and TV broadcast “Music and the Spoken Word”.

A graduate from Brigham Young University with a bachelor’s degree in harp performance and pedagogy, her harp teachers include Sarah Bullen, Susann McDonald, Dr. Carrol McLaughlin, Reneé Sheranian, and Louise Pratt.

Since 1987, Julie has recorded with L.A. East Studio, Telarc, Big Idea Studio, Kurt Bestor, Lex de Azevedo, LDS Motion Picture Studios, and Deseret Book (Mormon Tabernacle Choir). Julie is in her twenty-third season with the Ballet West's annual
Nutcracker performances. As a composer and arranger, she has published over two hundred arrangements focusing on religious and children's music for the lever and pedal harp. Julie’s 2009 publication, Harpy Halloween: 13 Spooktacular Songs, (CD and music) an innovative collection, explores many new special effects that beginner and advanced harpists can play. In addition to her publications is a book, My Harp's History - a recordkeeping book for all harps.

Julie has a large private harp studio teaching beginning to advanced students. For 10 years she served as the Vice President and President of the American Harp Society, Inc. Utah Chapter and as the American Harp Society, Inc. National Tape Librarian. A native of Salt Lake City, Julie is married to Mike Keyes and is the mother of five daughters. She also is an avid triathlete, competing in swimming, biking & running events.

 

Lilac 94: Christina Brier & Kathryn Sloat

"Christina Brier and Kathryn Sloat of Lilac 94 aren’t your grandmother’s harpists.”
-- Star News

Lilac 94 is a harp duo dedicated to performing new and previously undiscovered music and exploring creative ways of using the harp. Christina and Kate have played their music in all kinds of venues, from schools and retirement homes to Eastman School of Music’s Hatch Hall and the Milwaukee Art Museum. Most recently, they participated in Fifth House Ensemble’s Fresh Inc Festival, where they performed in Wisconsin and Chicago and gave two world premieres. Christina and Kate began playing together in their first semester as masters students at the Eastman School of Music, and formed Lilac 94 just before their graduation in May 2013. They chose their name to reflect their origins in Rochester, New York – the lilac is the flower of the city, and they have a total of 94 strings between their two harps.

Principal harpist of the Wilmington Symphony, Christina Brier performs widely throughout the Midwest and East Coast. Her orchestral concerto appearances include the Wilmington Symphony Orchestra, Tallis Chamber Orchestra, Menomonee Falls Symphony Orchestra, and Maranatha Symphony. As a solo harpist, Christina has performed programs at Hatch Hall (NY), Burkhart Hall (WI), Kenan Chapel (NC), and the Euterpe Music Club (WI). Ms. Brier frequently appears as a chamber musician with Manhattan harpist Kathryn Sloat in venues across the United States. Their harp duo Lilac 94 specializes in premiering innovative new works for harp duo. Lilac 94′s recent performances include Constellation Chicago, the Milwaukee Art Museum, Bedford Concert Hall (WI), the Village Chapel of Bald Head Island (NC), Hatch Hall (NY), and ARTISANworks (NY).

As an orchestral musician, Ms. Brier performs with the Wilmington Symphony and Tallis Chamber Orchestra in North Carolina. Her New York ensemble experience includes the Eastman Philharmonia, Sound Exchange Orchestra, Orchard Park Symphony, Genesee Valley Symphony, and Cornell Symphony. In Wisconsin she performed with the Maranatha Symphony and the Menomonee Falls Symphony Orchestra. She also served as principal harp at the Pierre Monteux summer festival in Hancock, Maine.
As noted by Star News, Christina “loves to do outreach for her instrument.” She currently operates a private teaching studio in Wilmington, North Carolina and serves as President of the Coastal Carolina Chapter of the American Harp Society, Inc. Christina holds a Master’s degree in Harp Performance from the Eastman School of Music where she studied with Kathleen Bride. At Eastman, she earned a certification in Community Music Teaching and was awarded the Willow Hall Press Award for Harp.

It took her a year to convince her parents that she really wanted to play the harp, but since then, Kathryn Sloat has pursued a career in music with a passion. She has developed a wide range of interests, including playing in orchestra and chamber ensembles, teaching, and exploring her own entrepreneurial projects. Most recently, Kate organized and performed in a concert celebrating the life and works of the composer Benjamin Britten. She also started a private teaching studio in her hometown of Bethlehem, New York.

After completing her master’s degree in harp performance at the Eastman School of Music, Kate moved to New York City to attend the Mannes College of Music and pursue a career in freelancing. Since then, she has performed with a number of ensembles, including the Mannes College Orchestra and Opera, MACE (Mannes American Composers Ensemble), the Ridgefield Symphony, Opera Brittenica, the Secret Opera, and more.

While in graduate school at Eastman, she and fellow harpist Christina Brier formed the duo Lilac 94 and have since performed together throughout the east coast and the Midwest. They recently attended the Fresh Inc Festival in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where they played in venues such as the Milwaukee Art Museum, the Kenosha Public Library, and Constellation Chicago. Future plans include an expanded tour of the Midwest.
Besides performing, one of Kate’s main interests is education. Besides maintaining a private studio of her own, she recently acted as an assistant teacher and dormitory counselor at the Connecticut Valley Harp Intensive. Her teacher education includes courses in harp pedagogy and private studio instruction, as well as teaching young harpists in the National String Project for four years at the Crane School of Music where she received her bachelor’s degree in harp performance.

Kate’s teachers include Susan Jolles (associate harpist of the Metropolitan Opera), Kathleen Bride (Eastman School of Music), and Dr. Jessica Suchy-Pilalis (Crane School of Music).

 

Los Angeles Harp Ensemble

Like its namesake city, the Los Angeles Harp Ensemble is a harp quartet uniting the grace and tradition of the past with the excitement of the present and the progress of the future. Inspiration for this ensemble was developed from a fortuitous conversation between Elaine Litster and Barbara Pniewska (von Würtzler), founding member of the New York Harp Ensemble. Barbara Pniewska was concerned about how to ensure arrangements written by the director of the New York Harp Ensemble, Aristid von Würtzler, could be accessed and performed by other harp ensembles, since the passing of Dr. von Würtzler had occasioned the final performances of his group. In hearing this, Elaine Litster was inspired to go beyond simply preserving the music to continuing the legacy of the New York Harp Ensemble by forming a harp quartet to perform these works as well as many others. The Los Angeles Harp Ensemble performs in a variety of settings, from formal concerts to educational outreach through the Terpsichore Echoes Project. Most recently, the quartet premiered and recorded Double Double Vision by David Lefkowitz. This quartet represents the diverse mix of cultures, genres, and vibrant energy that make up the City of Angels.

Members of the Los Angeles Harp Ensemble:
Jessica Brizuela is a Board-Certified Music Therapist (MT-BC) who graduated from Berklee College of Music with a degree in Harp Performance. She is versatile player currently working on a Performance Certificate at Azusa Pacific University.

Linda Rose-Hembreiker plays with saxophonist Idit Shner as the Chyrsocolla Duo and with pianist Mei-En Chou as Duo Mystère. Duo Mystère’s first CD will be released in the summer of 2015. Linda-Rose loves teaching and maintains a private studio in southern California, as well as being a Teaching Artist for the Young Musicians Foundation.

Elaine Litster’s recordings include a solo album, “Moonlit Harp,” and a duo album, “Captured Moments.” Elaine served on the AHS National Board (Director-at-Large) 2003-2009, AHS 2nd Vice-President 2006-2008, and as President of the Los Angeles Chapter, 2000-2002 during which they were selected Chapter of the Year. For the past 16 years Elaine has conducted “Harp Extravaganza,” Southern California’s largest harp gathering, in addition to teaching and freelancing.

Hee Jin Yoon received a Performance Diploma from Indiana University and a Master’s of Music degree from the University of Cincinnati, where she is currently a doctoral candidate in Harp Performance. In her new hometown of Los Angeles, Ms. Yoon continues to be active as a multi-faceted classical performer and teacher.

 

Ann McLaughlin & Austin Gelber

Harpist Ann McLaughlin has a passion for performing and a strong desire to bring music to a broad range of audiences. Several of her recent endeavors include planetarium recitals with synchronized star shows, the multimedia immersive-theatre experience Scheherazade, and performances as the duo Ginger & Spice with fellow harpist Molly O’Roark. A winner of the 2011-2012 University of North Texas (UNT) Concerto Competition, Ann has also recorded as an ensemble member with the UNT Wind Symphony and Symphony Orchestra as well as recorded her own arrangement of Take Five for harp quartet with the UNT Harp Beats. Always interested in combining different aspects of the arts, Ann is a former nationally ranked artistic freestyle unicyclist and has previously worked as a ballroom and swing dance instructor as well as a theatre director and choreographer. McLaughlin is a Distinguished Fellow at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her teachers include Anna Vorhes, Jaymee Haefner, and Ann Yeung.

Austin Gelber is a graduate from the University of North Texas. He received his B.S. in Integrative Studies and studied concert percussion performance, composition, computer science, and business. Gelber has scored two musicals and several short films, including work with film students from the Savannah Center for Art and Design, and collaboration with a University of Notre Dame student resulted in “Forty Days,” an art song for piano and tenor. Most recently, he composed incidental music for a one-act version of Molière's The Miser. Gelber is currently based in Lewisville, Texas.

 

Alexandra Katelyn Mullins, 20, a Senior at Indiana University studying with Distinguished Professor Susann McDonald, and recently prizewinner in the USA International Harp Competition, has performed throughout the US and Europe in many venues, including Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center. She has received awards, including First Place in the Advanced and Young Professional Divisions of the American Harp Society, inc.; First Place in the Lyon and Healy Awards; First Place in the 18th Petar Konjovic Serbian International Harp Competition; First Place in the Jacobs School of Music Concerto Competition, Prizewinner of the 2013 USA International Harp Competition; as well as numerous regional awards. Performances have included appearances with the Charlotte Symphony and the IU Orchestra, and she had her European orchestral debut in Belgrade in 2014. Participation in AHS competitions since 2005 has contributed greatly to her success as a musician, and she is thrilled to serve and perform in the capacity of Concert Artist for the 2013-2015 season. Former and current teachers and coaches include Dr. Carrol McLaughlin, Dan Yu, Sivan Magen, Dr. Maria Luisa Rayan-Forrero, Bette Roth, Christine VanArsdale and Jaqueline Bartlett.

 

Salzedo Harp Ensemble: Elizabeth Hainen & Curtis Students
Founded in 1924 by virtuoso Carlos Salzedo, the harp department celebrates a rich and storied history at Curtis. Throughout his four decades at Curtis, Salzedo personified the distinctive artist-teaching model that is the hallmark of a Curtis education. To  commemorate the 90-year tradition of harp playing at Curtis, “Curtis On Tour” is pleased to reestablish the Salzedo Harp Ensemble for the 2014-2015 Season.

The young virtuosos are led by Elizabeth Hainen, Maryjane Mayhew Barton Chair at the Curtis Institute of Music and Principal Harpist for The Philadelphia Orchestra. In addition to Ms. Hainen, the five members include: Héloïse Carlean-Jones from Paris, France and a top prize winner in Belgian, French and Serbian international competitions; Helen Gerhold from Lansdale, Pennsylvania and a Lyon & Healy Awards winner; Abigail Kent from Mount Pleasant, South Carolina and winner of the Saratoga Harp Colony “Play with the Pros” Concerto Competition; and finally Anna Odell of McLean, Virginia and the 2013 ASTA National Competition winner in harp.

Their rich repertoire replicates programming from the Salzedo Harp Ensemble’s 1932 tour to New York City’s Steinway Hall and Boston’s Jordan Hall and will include arrangements by Carlos Salzedo. Several works are exclusive offerings of Salzedo’s unpublished scores, which can only be performed under the auspices of the Curtis Institute of Music.

 

Principal Harpist of the San Diego Symphony, Julie Smith Phillips is one of the most prominent young harpists today, performing as both an orchestral musician and concert artist. Silver medalist winner in the 2004 USA International Harp Competition and Bronze medalist in 2001, she made her National Symphony Orchestra debut in 2003 and has been honored in numerous competitions throughout the country. Her many honors include grand prizes in the Corpus Christi International Young Artist Competition and the Midland/Odessa National Young Artist Competition, both open to all instrumentalists.

Ms. Phillips regularly performs as a recitalist and soloist with orchestra. Her appearances include multiple performances with the San Diego Symphony, the New World Symphony Orchestra, the West Los Angeles Symphony, the South Dakota Symphony, the Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra, and the Cleveland Institute of Music Orchestra. She has been the opening recitalist for the 2006 American Harp Society, Inc. National Conference, the 2007 USA International Harp Competition and Guest Artist for the 2010 Young Artist Harp Seminar in Rabun Gap, GA, and will be a featured recital soloist for the Lyon & Healy 150th Birthday Celebration in Chicago, IL in June of 2014.

Ms. Phillips is equally experienced as a chamber and orchestral musician collaborating with renowned musicians across the country. A founding member of The Myriad Trio, she regularly appears on the San Diego Symphony Chamber Concert Series, Art of Elan, and the San Diego New Music Ensemble, and has performed abroad in Italy, Japan and Taiwan. Her festival credentials include the Bay Chamber, Festival Mozaic, Mainly Mozart, and Tanglewood Music Festivals, the Sun Valley Summer Symphony, National Repertory Orchestra, Spoleto USA Festival, and the Pacific Music Festival in Japan. During the 2006-07 season she was the Acting Principal Harpist of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, and prior to that held the position of Principal Harp for the New World Symphony Orchestra.

Ms. Phillips is an avid promoter and performer of new music. Several works have been written and premiered by Ms. Phillips including Cactus, a double concerto for harp and violin written by Michael Torke and premiered by the San Diego Symphony Orchestra, The Eye of Night for flute, viola and harp by David Bruce, and Sonata, a trio for flute, viola and harp by Jeremy Cavaterra, both premiered by The Myriad Trio.

An active teacher, Ms. Phillips is Associate Faculty of Harp at Arizona State University’s School of Music, as well as Adjunct Faculty at the University of San Diego. She is a certified instructor in the Suzuki harp method and works with students of all ages on lever and pedals harps, teaching a private studio out of her home. Former faculty member at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, Ms. Phillips also serves on the board of San Diego Chapter of the American Harp Society, Inc.,  as well as the Young Artist Harp Seminar in Rabun Gap, GA.

Ms. Phillips has a solo album, The Rhapsodic Harp, which is available from her website, www.harpjas.com. The Myriad Trio has also released their debut recording entitled The Eye of Night (www.themyriadtrio.com). Attending the Cleveland Institute of Music, she received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in harp performance where she studied with Yolanda Kondonassis.  Her other primary teachers have included Alice Chalifoux and Patrice Lockhart.  A native of Hastings, NE, Ms. Phillips began studying the harp at age eleven.

 

River Town Duo: Claire Happel & Philip Alejo

A Fulbright award winner, Claire Happel has performed with the St. Louis Symphony, City of Prague Philharmonia, and Civic Orchestra of Chicago, among others. She has received grants from the Illinois Arts Council, City of Chicago, American Harp Society, and Urbana Arts Programs for performances, commissions, and recordings. In 2004, she was a panelist at the World Harp Congress in Dublin and has appeared in concerts at the American Harp Society, Inc. Conferences in Chicago and Tacoma.

Ms. Happel holds degrees in harp performance from Yale University and the University of Illinois, where she also received a BFA in Dance. Her primary teachers include Ann Yeung, Sarah Bullen, June Han, and Jana Boušková.

Philip Alejo is the Assistant Professor of Bass at the University of Arizona. He has taught at St. Ambrose University and at the University of Michigan. A former member of the Chicago Civic Orchestra and mentor with the Detroit Civic Orchestra, Philip has performed with the Quad City Symphony, Tucson Symphony, Ensemble Dal Niente, Flint Symphony, and Ann Arbor.

Philip has appeared at the Spoleto Festival USA, Lucerne Festival, Mackinac Island Music Festival, Oaxaca Instrumenta, Aldeburgh Festival, Tucson Winter Chamber Music Festival, Pacific Music Festival, and Aspen Music Festival. He teaches at the Milt Hinton Institute, AZ ASTA Bass Jam, and the Richard Davis Bass Conference.

 

 

Julie Mitton Staples is a well-known harpist, teacher, music arranger and publisher of LDS Harp music. She received her Bachelor of Music and Master of Music Degrees in Harp Performance and Pedagogy from Brigham Young University under the instruction of Rosalie Rebollo Pratt, renowned student of Marcel Grandjany, and Louise Pratt, BYU Harp Instructor. Additional teachers have included Konrad Nelson previous harpist for the Utah Symphony and Mm. Bertile Fournier, Paris.

Julie has played the harp for over 30 years and has been teaching for over 20 years. She also spent several years as a harp instructor for Brigham Young University. Julie has performed as a soloist, chamber artist, and orchestral harpist. She has played second harp with The Utah Symphony as well as principal harp for many other orchestras including Brigham Young University’s Chamber Orchestra, Philharmonic, Symphony and Wind Symphony, as well as the Utah Lyric Opera. She has been the principal harpist for the Oquirrh Mountain Symphony for the past three years and is the harpist for the Timpanogos Symphony Orchestra.

Julie is the current Chapter President of the Utah Chapter of the American Harp Society, Inc., a position she has held for many years. She has also served as a board member and as the Honors Recital Coordinator for a number of years.

 

Teresa Suen-Campbell

Teresa Suen-Campbell's playing was described as "angelic" by the Financial Times, and was praised as having "a formidable technique which shines and stuns" by the Macao Daily. She recently (2014) made her Canadian debut with the Kindred Spirit Orchestra under the baton of Kristian Alexander, performing the world premiere of a harp concerto by her husband James Campbell. An enthusiastic and dedicated educator, Dr Suen-Campbell is currently appointed as associate harp faculty at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. She was an adjunct assistant professor at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (2008-2012), and was engaged as harp instructor at Northwestern University (2002-2006) and the University of Chicago (2005-2007) respectively. Her students have won top prizes in international competitions held in Japan, Hong Kong and Macau.

Teresa is the first harpist from China to acquire a Doctor of Music degree in harp performance. She studied at Northwestern University in Chicago with Professor Elizabeth Cifani, former principal harpist of the Lyric Opera of Chicago. She is the recipient of a number of honors and awards, including the Brevard Music Festival Scholarship, the Lee Hysan Foundation Fellowship from the Asian Cultural Council, and the C.F. Hu Postgraduate Memorial Scholarship. She began studying harp at the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts at the young age of 15, and later graduated with first-class honors in music from the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Teresa gave a sold-out recital to critical acclaim at the Hong Kong Arts Festival in 2009. She was the former principal harpist of the Hong Kong City Chamber Orchestra and Evanston Symphony Orchestra. She also performed with the Hong Kong Sinfonietta Orchestra in addition to various orchestras in the Chicago area, including the Illinois Symphony, Park Ridge Civic Orchestra and Rockford Symphony, among others. She toured the world with the Asian Youth Orchestra in 2000. Her performances have brought her to China, Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Australia, the United States and Canada.
With a diverse repertoire spanning from the Renaissance to the present, Teresa is an advocate of contemporary music. She has collaborated with many Canadian, Chinese, and American composers to date. She also performed under the baton of conductors such as Vladimir Ashkenazy and Jean Thorel, and performed with renowned artists such as Kathleen Battle (2013), Placido Domingo, Skaila Kanga and Dame Evelyn Glennie. Her performances were broadcasted on TV and radio stations in Hong Kong and the US. She also released her debut CD album Longing in 2010.

 

Anne Sullivan began her career as a concert harpist at age twelve when she appeared twice as soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra. A native of the Philadelphia area and a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, she is in demand as a recitalist, chamber musician and symphonic soloist. Her orchestral appearances have included engagements with the Baltimore Symphony, the Delaware Symphony where she was principal harpist, the Pennsylvania Centre Orchestra, and the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia. Her chamber music collaborations include SPARX duo with flutist Joan Sparks; Duo Parisienne with violinist Nancy Bean, former assistant concertmaster with the Philadelphia Orchestra; and the Easterly Chamber Players with Diane Toulson, flute and Smith Toulson, clarinet. In addition to her chamber music recordings, she has released two solo CDs, Romantische (2007) and Break Forth (2011).

Currently the harp instructor at the University of Delaware and at Swarthmore (PA) College, Ms. Sullivan was a member of the music theory faculty at the Curtis Institute of Music from 1982-2002. She is the author and arranger of numerous works for harp, including a series of ear training books specifically for the harp student. She presents workshops across the country and is the founder/director of Harp in the Mountains Summer Festival. On the web at Harpmastery.com she helps harpists worldwide solve the problems they encounter in their practice and performance through articles, courses and coaching. Her book for all musicians, Kaleidoscope Practice: Focus, Finish and Play the Way You’ve Always Wanted, was recently released on Amazon Kindle.

 

A prize-winning graduate of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, Ms. Zoe Vandermeer is on the roster of the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism, and is a recipient of several grants including the MTNA Foundation Grant Fund and Dame Joan Sutherland Fund. First place winner of the Barry Alexander International Vocal Competition, she was finalist in the London Young Artists Early Music Competition and Wilfred Laurier Concert Aria Competition Canada, and recently received a Special Commendation for her work as a singing harpist by the American Prize Competition. 

Ms. Vandermeer has given performances of her original one woman baroque pastiche opera (that featured her triple harp) ‘If Love Be the Food of Musick, circa 1782’ at the International Festival de Deia Spain, Glasgow International Early Music Festival, Pollok House Museum, Nairn Little Theatre Scotland, and San Francisco Academy of Art Museum. A feature article about the work can be found in the Winter 1998 edition of the Swiss publication Harpa. Ms. Vandermeer’s voice/baroque triple harp album 'Angel's Wine, the Songs of John Dowland' received favorable reviews in the UK Lute Society Journal, with performances at HarpCon2003, Bloomington Early Music Festival, 2006 and elsewhere. In July 2014, Ms. Vandermeer gave a presentation on harp continuo concepts in the music of Handel and his contemporaries for the Historical Harp Society’s annual conference.  

As a composer, her works have been premiered by the Contra Costa Chamber Orchestra, San Francisco Sinfonietta, and San Francisco Concerto Orchestra. Her original 'Musical Fairy Tale, The Golden Key' CD has been compared to Phantom of the Opera, Into the Woods and Secret Garden. Her song ‘Hiding in the Light’ from ‘The Golden Key’ won second place for Best Classical Song by JPF in 2002, and her original EP of the album was nominated for Best Classical Album by the same organization in 2000. The poetry from the song ‘Alone at Night’ in ‘The Golden Key’ was published in 1998 in Flor de Card, Mallorca. 

Ms. Vandermeer’s upcoming solo voice/harps album features the musical times of the 19th century opera singer Jenny Lind. In July 2015, she looks forward to giving her workshop presentations at the Somerset Harp Festival. Ms. Vandermeer's Welsh triple harp is made by Robin Ward in the UK.

 

Laura Zaerr teaches both pedal harp and folk harp at the University of Oregon, where she obtained her bachelor’s degree in music performance and composition. She was a three-time recipient of the Ruth Lorraine Close Award for musical studies. She holds a master’s degree in harp performance from the Eastman School of Music, where she studied with Eileen Malone. Over the past 30 years Laura has produced several solo CDs featuring original compositions and arrangements of Celtic tunes as well as recording collaboratively with various musical groups. Laura’s artistic interests extend beyond performance. With the help of her father, she renovated a single-action pedal harp built in Paris in 1827. Laura’s exquisite performances of little-known classical harp works on this unique and beautiful instrument has gained national attention. As well as maintaining a thriving studio in Corvallis, Laura travels throughout the Northwest presenting workshops and concerts. Laura spends all her time playing with her four year old little boy. In her spare time she enjoys white-water kayaking, gardening and cooking.