Artist Residency Begins
I've just completed my first week as Artist in Residence at the Hereford Branch of the Baltimore County Public Library. It was both enjoyable and productive! I'll be in residence at the library three days a week until the middle of September, practicing and working on some new compositions and arrangements. I'll also give a program for preschoolers and a family program. Patrons are encouraged to interact however they would like. Some come up close and check out the harp and ask lots of questions. Some find a book and a chair nearby, and some just enjoy the music while browsing the library.
If you'd like to stop by, click here to view the full schedule on my calendar.
Profile of The Baltimore Harp Camp
The Towson Times, owned by the Baltimore Sun, has published an article about the Baltimore Harp Camp, a week-long day camp that I run each summer. They devoted a lot of time to the article, including interviews with a few of the campers, an interview with me, and a photo and video shoot. I was especially touched by the lovely quotes from the campers.
To read the full article or watch the video, click here.
Review of Pedal Exercises for Harp
The Harp Column Magazine included a review of my book, Pedal Exercises for Harp, in their July/August 2017 issue. If you have a subscription to this popular harp magazine, click here to log in and read the full review, including more about how "this excellent tome will help students get comfortable with pedaling."
For more information about Pedal Exercises for Harp, click here.
Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp
I recently had the chance to spend some time in an area of Michigan filled with pine trees, little lakes, and much cooler temperatures than the muggy summers of Baltimore. The beautiful setting is home to Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp and was also filled with music. My couple of weeks were packed full of working with high school aged harpists, performing with various faculty ensembles, and watching sunsets on the lake.
Photos from Chamber Music by Candlelight Performance
Recently Trio Sirènes (Marcia Kämper, flute; Karin Brown, viola; Jacqueline Pollauf, harp) performed on the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's Chamber Music by Candlelight Series at the Second Presbyterian Church in Baltimore, Maryland. We were so grateful to talented photographer Lawrence Siegel for these gorgeous photos from the concert:
Artist Residency at the Hereford Library
I had the pleasure of performing at the Hereford Branch of the Baltimore County Public library for their birthday celebration early in June.
Later this summer I will be an artist-in-residence at this library branch, so I was delighted to get to spend some time there. For the residency, I'll take my harp (and my laptop) to the library a few times a week and compose and practice there. Library patrons will be able to watch me work or stop and chat about what I'm doing. I'll also give a couple of performances for the public, featuring the new compositions from the residency, and a musical story time for children. The library branch has a strong commitment to the arts, as you can see by the artwork behind my harp.
Trio Sirènes Website
Trio Sirènes, the flute, viola and harp trio that I'm honored to play in with Marcia Kämper and Karin Brown, has just launched an official website! We based the whole thing off of the lovely photos that Baltimore photographer Roy Cox took of us, and it includes a schedule of performances, videos of us from live performances, and biographical information.
When I was young and dreamed about being a professional musician, I never realized how many other skills musicians use constantly. I find myself writing bios, building websites, shooting videos, keeping books, and sending staggering amounts of email. We did the entire website ourselves, and are really proud of it! Take a look: triosirenes.com
Three harps with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Many orchestral pieces include a part for one harpist, if harp is included at all. A much smaller set of pieces are written for two harpists, and it's always fun to play with another harpist on pieces like Debussy's La Mer, Holst's The Planet, or most of Mahler Symphonies. However, as a first for me, this month I played on the original version of Stravinsky's The Firebird from 1910 (rather than the much more common Firebird Suite from a few years later), written for not one, not two, but three harps.
Performance for Babies and Toddlers
I had so much fun playing for an audience of babies and toddlers (and their parents) with Trio Sirènes (with flutist Marcia Kämper and violist Karin Brown) on the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's Music Box Series. We played children's songs and excerpts of longer pieces. I've never looked out at an audience before and seen so many big eyes, just trying to take it all in.
Radio Program on WWFM Classical Network
The Post Classical Ensemble has recently released a CD of works by Lou Harrison on the Naxos Label. As part of the launch, the Post Classical Ensemble held an event at the Indonesian Embassy in Washington D.C., as Harrison was heavily influenced by Indonesian music. The program featured several works by the composer that were not included on the CD, and I had the pleasure of performing Harrison's Suite for Cello and Harp with cellist Ben Capps.
Executive director of the Post Classical Ensemble, Joe Horowitz, discusses the entire project on his blog here. You can hear a few of the tracks from the CD, live performances from the event at the Indonesian Embassy, and thoughts from Horowitz and music director Angel Gil-Ordóñez in two radio specials on WWFM, the Classical Network, here. My performance of the Suite for Cello and Harp can be found at 42:00 on Part 2.
Maryland State Arts Council Grant
I'm excited to announce that I've been honored with an Individual Artist Award! Based on artistic merit, the Maryland State Arts Council seeks to recognize outstanding arts contributions and further each individual's artistic goals.
Florida State University Solo Recital and Masterclass
I've just returned from giving a solo recital and masterclass at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida. It was great to spend time with professor of harp, Mary Roman, and meet all of the students!
(Photos from the top left: just before the solo recital in Dohnanyi Recital Hall, enjoying the Florida weather by a picturesque fountain, with students after the masterclass.)
Richard Lake Orchestra
Last spring I got to pretend I was playing with Ella Fitzgerald! Baltimore-based composer Richard Lake arranged a couple of old standards for vocalist Janna Critz, accompanied by jazz band with strings and harp. Below are videos from the recording session.
My One and Only Love by Guy Wood
The Nearness of You by Hoagy Carmichael.
Columbia Pro Cantare Concert
At their most recent concert in Ellicott City, I performed Liebstraume no. 3 by Franz Liszt, transcribed for harp by Heriette Renié, and my own transcription of Antonin Dvorak's Songs My Mother Taught Me for harp and voice, with soprano Laura Whittenberger.
I love this photo that photographer Lawrence Siegel took during the concert:
Solo Recital at Goucher College
I've been teaching at Goucher College for a few years now, and I just gave a solo recital as part of their faculty series. It was an enjoyable way to spend a rainy evening! Below are videos of a few of the pieces that I played.
Fernando Benadon Album Release
Washington D.C. based composer Fernando Benadon has just released an album of his music called delight/delirium on the New Focus Recordings label. I am happy to be playing on the first track, Cotxes, along with Noah Getz (saxophone), Nobue Matsuoka (vibes), and Jeffrey Chappell (piano).
Click here to view on Amazon.
New Arrangement Published
I've just published a new arrangement, a medley of Greensleeves and O'Carolan's Air for four harps, intended for a student ensemble. It's available to purchase as a pdf through Harp Column Music.
Click here to view and listen to an mp3.
For almost a year now I've been trying to post one video a week to my YouTube channel. Some of these videos are solo or chamber music performances, and I've also been doing a series of inspirational videos for students. I've made a couple of informational videos too, and recently I had the opportunity do one about a very specific harp repair, replacing a broken pedal rod. A friend of mine brought his harp to me to fix and I filmed the whole process, which meant that my living room turned into a repair shop/film studio for two days. (See the below photo, followed by the finished video.)
Since the beginning of the school year, I've been working with a high school harp and violin duo through the Baltimore Symphony Youth Orchestra program. They just gave a beautiful performance of Meditation from Thaïs by Jules Massenet, arranged by Carlos Salzedo, at the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall.
Lullaby on I Wonder as I Wander
There is so much beautiful Christmas music. This year I found the time to compose a piece based on the Appalachian melody, I Wonder as I Wander. As I was working with it, I found a way to intertwine The Coventry Carol with it. Here it is:
I had the honor of premiering a new work for voice and harp by Emmanuel Dubois at Carnegie Hall. The program featured soprano Yulia Petrachuk in various songs and opera arias, along with a few guests artists. Photos from the performance are below.
Premiere by Christian Humcke
Last week I got to premiere a new piece for choir and harp, Evening Quiescence by a young composer, Christian Humcke. The performance took place at First and Franklin Church in Baltimore, with the First and Franklin Choir under the direction of Jason Kissel. Christian not only wrote the music and the text, but conducted as well.
The piece was so beautiful, and lingered in the space. Here's a recording of the premiere.
John Cage for the Harp
The University of Maryland, Baltimore County began holding a new music festival every fall several years ago. Each year they choose a theme, and this year they chose: "The New York School and Beyond" focusing on American composers John Cage, Morton Feldman, Earle Brown, and Christian Wolff. I had the opportunity to play In a Landscape by John Cage at the festival. It's not in the typical experimental style that most people associate with Cage, but instead is much more reminiscent of Erik Satie. Here's the performance:
Trio Sirènes Performance
Claude Debussy wrote a Sonata for harp, flute, and viola at the beginning of the 20th century. It's a beautiful piece and single-handedly transformed harp, flute and viola into a standard trio of instruments. Since then, many composers have written music for this combination.
Last week, my trio with Marcia Kämper, flute and Karin Brown, viola, performed a entire program of music written in the last twenty years for harp, flute and viola at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Photos below:
Baltimore Boom Bap Society
Five years ago, I was asked to play on a show at Baltimore's Windup Space - an improvised combination of hiphop and instrumentalists from other genres. Obviously, I fell into the "other genres" category. Since I'm always interested in broadening my musical horizons (at least in theory, sometimes I find myself with a few qualms on stage, like the first time I played an all improvised show), I said yes. Now I'm excited to say that I'll be playing on the Baltimore Boom Bap Society's Fifth Anniversary Show on November 2nd.
There's a great preview in the City Paper about it all. And, for the article, everyone met up for a photo at dawn, taken by Wendel Patrick.
New Video Series
I started a new video series on my YouTube channel, called Inspirational Videos for Young Harpists, that I'm really excited about. In each video I give a short spoken introduction and then play a beginning or intermediate level piece. Below are a couple of my favorites or click here to see all of the videos.
Spangler Family Album
Baltimore-based composer and electronic musician Erik Spangler has produced a new album, Introducing the Spangler Family: Intergenerational Electronics, featuring music and sounds created by himself, his wife, and his three young children. I am honored to be a guest artist on the track Selkie, playing harp alongside my young student, Mila Spangler.
Click here to listen to the track and view the album.
Pedal Exercises for Harp
When students begin playing the harp, they usually start on a lever harp, which is a smaller, simpler instrument than what you see if you go to an orchestra concert. At some point, if they chose to, students make a switch to the large, complex pedal harp. Naturally, this involves learning to move the seven pedals around the base of the harp. The first time I found myself teaching a student who was making the switch, I thought to myself, "It would be really helpful to have a few exercises specifically for learning to move the pedals." So I sat down and wrote six. It turns out that wasn't enough. So I wrote another six. And then I revised the twelve, and wrote more, and rearranged them, and tried them with some new students, and then expanded them and revised them further and wrote more, and on and on.
It took quite some time, but eventually the whole project was finished and it's just been published. I can't begin to describe how proud I am.
For more information about the exercises, click here.