Every summer the American Harp Society hosts national gatherings. The National Conference, held in even-numbered years, features concerts by brilliant artists from around the world, workshops on wide-ranging topics, master classes with world-class teachers, and scholarly lectures to feed your intellectual soul, as well as an exhibit hall with a dizzying array of harps and related items. 

The Summer Institute, held in odd-numbered years, focuses on the student harpist with workshops, master classes, and concerts by the best performers and pedagogues in the world.  The Summer Institute is held in conjunction with AHS National Competition, where dazzling young harpists compete for awards and scholarships.

Members are invited to take advantage of these incomparable educational and networking opportunities. 

2019 13th American Harp Society, Inc. Summer Institute and National Competition

June, 2019
University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Winston-Salem, NC


Destination Innovation: Propelling Harpists into the Future.

The state of North Carolina is known for being FIRST IN FLIGHT since the Wright Brothers piloted the first powered airplane in 1903 at Kitty Hawk, NC. With the idea of "taking flight", the host committee plans to "propel" the harpist and the teacher forward with advanced ideas, creative concepts, and greater knowledge of our craft. Through masterclasses, workshops, concerts, and a composition contest, the Institute will highlight past and present innovators of the harp to inspire future innovation. Concerts will feature repertoire performed by professional and accomplished student harpists, as well as potentially headline acclaimed North Carolina-based composers, such as Dan Locklair, Terry Mizesko, and Stephen Jaffe.

The University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) is America's first state supported public university of arts conservatories. It is one university with five conservatories: School of Music, School of Dance, School of Filmmaking, School of Design and Production, and School of Drama. With an internationally renowned faculty, UNCSA trains students at the high school, undergraduate and master's levels for professional careers in the arts. The School of Music also collaborates with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in New York City to form the Chrysalis Chamber Music Institute at UNCSA, giving graduate students important opportunities to collaborate artistically.

UNCSA is a safe and friendly conservatory campus, which offers a wide variety of spaces and facilities to host the American Harp Society (AHS) 2019 Summer Institute and Competition. We boast two dedicated music buildings situated next door to each other. Both buildings are easily accessible for the loading/unloading of harps, one located all on one floor and the other with two floors accessible by elevator.

North Carolina has a rich performing arts heritage and home to many respected professional arts organizations, including the North Carolina Symphony, Charlotte Symphony, Brevard Music Festival, Eastern Music Festival, North Carolina Opera, Carolina Ballet and the internationally respected University of North Carolina School of the Arts, which all play a vital role in educating our talented youth while inspiring our community. The state has also produced some of the world’s talented musicians, representing all genres of music, including Doc Watson, Nina Simone, The Krugar Brothers, James Taylor, The Avett Brothers, Emmylou Harris, Etta Baker, Ben Folds, Roberta Flack, and Jeremy Denk.

Located in the foothill region of central North Carolina, the city of Winston-Salem, NC (City of Arts & Innovation) has an unparalleled dedication to the fine arts, theatre, and technological research. "A charming southern getaway," Winston-Salem is the fifth largest city in the state and offers a plethora of museums, historical sites, cutting edge restaurants, wonderful hotels, bed & breakfasts, and the world-class medical facilities of Wake Forest Medical Center and Baptist Hospital. In fact, the very first Arts Council in the United States was established in Winston-Salem in 1949.

In 2012, Winston-Salem was listed among the ten best places to retire in the United States by CBS MoneyWatch. The city of Winston-Salem is surrounded by more than 45 award-winning wineries within an hour's drive. The majestic Blue Ridge Mountains are a mere 1.5 hours to the west, where you can climb Mt. Mitchell, the highest peak on the eastern seaboard, or hike Linville Gorge, the deepest gorge east of the Grand Canyon. If you travel 3 hours east, you will be on the white, sandy beaches of the Atlantic Ocean, at places like Nags Head, Kitty Hawk and Wrightsville Beach.

2020 44th American Harp Society, Inc. National Conference

"That’s Entertainment!"
June 21-24, 2020
Renaissance Orlando at Sea World

Much of the history of music is rooted in communication: of myths & legend, by troubadours & minstrels and through using poetry & prose. Music is used to mark occasions, to celebrate, mourn, commemorate, and inspire. For the harp this tradition includes its role as an esteemed and aristocratic instrument in ancient Ireland; the instrument of choice in the gilded salons of the 18th century and, in the 19th century, an instrument of intense exploration and development resulting in expanded possibilities for creativity and innovation. With the advent of the solo artists of the 20th Century the harp emerged to take center stage in the classical as well as the contemporary American popular genres.

Modern harpists have stretched the parameters in every direction, exploring genres from classical and jazz to popular tunes and beyond, employing traditional acoustic technology and expanding the possibilities of electronic and digital applications to the harp. From its early days hidden away in the courts, our instrument has evolved and our music has become a force in multiple traditional and modern arts and entertainment.

For the 2020 National Conference in Orlando Florida, hosted by the Central Florida Chapter at the spectacular Renaissance Orlando at Sea World, the AHS will celebrate our American popular music legacy with a theme of "That's Entertainment!" Conference proposals should focus on content that highlights, informs, educates, and/or demonstrates the unique contributions of American popular music to the world of the harp and to global culture. This once-in-a-lifetime conference experience will surprise and delight with new perspectives on our instrument and its repertoire set against the backdrop of Central Florida's world-class entertainment industry and memorable attractions.