Harpist Faith Carman died on Dec. 20, 2023, in Farmington, Maine. Born on Jan. 23, 1941, in Bethesda, Maryland, Carman was best-known in the harp world for her many publications. Former American Harp Society (AHS) President Lynne Aspnes says Carman’s most memorable contributions to the harp community included her publishing company and her firsthand knowledge of Carlos Salzedo’s teaching, as a first-generation student. “Her transcriptions and publications were impeccable and selectively curated,” Aspnes says. “Listening to her talk about her time at Curtis brought yet another perspective, expanding my understanding of Carlos Salzedo’s approach to the harp, to performing and to pedagogy.”
In giving its Lifetime Achievement Award to Carman in 2013, the AHS wrote, “Faith Carman contributed to the harp community as a performer, teacher, and music publisher. She studied with Carlos Salzedo both in Camden, Maine, and at the Curtis Institute of Music. She earned a Bachelor of Music from Catholic University.
“Faith was principal harpist of several orchestras, including the Orquesta Sinfónica de Colombia, National Ballet, Kennedy Center Opera House, Oakland Symphony, San Rafael Symphony, Santa Rosa Symphony, and Yakima Symphony. In addition, she performed as second harpist with the National Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, and San Francisco Contemporary Music Players. A prolific freelancer, Faith was particularly proud of her 174 performances of Britten’s Ceremony of Carols.
“In addition to her private teaching studio, Faith also taught harp at Howard University, George Washington University, San Francisco Conservatory, and San Francisco State University. In 1985, she founded FC Publishing, arranging and publishing works for the harp until 2001, when she sold the business to David Kolacny.
“Faith also served the American Harp Society locally as President of the Washington, D.C., and the Bay Area Chapters, and nationally for two years as Vice President and ten years as Chairman of the Board. She also served as the Chairman of the Escosa Memorial Fund for more than twenty years.”
David Kolacny, who took over Carman’s publishing business, recalls working closely with her in several capacities in the harp world. “Some of my fondest memories are the years Faith and I spent on the AHS Board of Directors with John Escosa as President,” he says. “Faith was loud, a little rough and incredibly loyal to her friends. Those included Molly Hahn and John Escosa. When John died Faith rounded up his friends and insisted we find a way to honor his memory. Faith eventually started The Escosa Memorial Fund. I particularly remember Faith putting on an Ice Cream Social as a way to remind members about John and encourage them to donate.
“Early on Faith started FC Publishing. She published works by herself as well as Kathy Bundock Moore and others. Faith always took a large booth at AHS Conference Exhibits. Often the cost of the booth, shipping and travel would cost far more than she made. When I asked her about it she said she “owed” it to her authors. A sentiment I never forgot.
“In 2001 Faith needed to leave FC Publishing. My wife Debbie and I took over the Kathy Bundock Moore works, added a few more and started Harps Nouveau Publishing. There are only a few people you meet that really make a change in your life. Faith was definitely one of those.”