Mar 5 2013

Une châtelaine en sa tour

As the snow has fallen this winter, the harp piece that has been playing in my head (and by my fingers) has been Une châtelaine en sa tour (A Lady in Her Tower) by Gabriel Fauré.

The piece was inspired by the poem of the same name from Paul Verlaine’s collection La bonne chanson. Fauré composed this piece during the war-torn years of 1917, 1918, yet, in contrast to the conflict around him, as well as his personal struggle with worsening deafness, in Une châtelaine en sa tour Fauré creates a calm and serene world where melodies soar and any harmonic tension quickly softens into tranquility. It is a beautifully evocative piece, and has drawn me further into Fauré’s life and world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gabriele Fauré

 

 

 


Apr 24 2012

Spring has Sprung

It’s been a busy start of spring! At the end of March, I gave the “Harp Through History” event at the Ellwood House. Great venue, great musicians to play with, and great music to play. All combined for an incredible experience.

The piece we performed – “Introduction and Allegro” by Maurice Ravel – is one of those lifetime pieces. Meaning, I finished performing it and immediately wanted to play it again. You know those things in life that you finish and immediately want to do again? Like finishing the last chapter of an amazing book? Or at the end of the most amazing party with the most amazing friends? Or running a marathon? Just kidddddding on that one.

Seriously, though. One of the things I love about great music is that each time you play, you listen for newness. New moments never noticed before. A note or phrase to behold in a new way. An ensemble connection that was so subtly perfect it gives you shivers. Yep – this is why I love music.

(Outside the Ellwood House)

 

 


Feb 8 2012

stairway to heaven

This suspended staircase reminds me of a harp. Nicely done, Chae Pereira architects. I’ll take one for my house.


Jan 30 2012

inspiration

This past Saturday night I got to have some music time with my little sister. Although she’s almost 10 years younger than me, I’m realizing she’s not my baby sister anymore.  How do I know? Because she has good music taste. She introduced me to the band Jenny and Tyler and we went to their show Saturday night. Baby sisters don’t discover cool bands on their own. So she must be grown up.

You can check out our fav Jenny and Tyler song here.

The concert really inspired me to work on my songwriting skills.  I’m motivated to get my thoughts on paper, and then add music to those thoughts. Stay tuned!

 

 


Jan 19 2012

as elegant

A young woman, pretty, lively, with a harp as elegant as herself; and both placed near a window, cut down to the ground, and opening on a little lawn, surrounded in the rich foliage of summer, was enough to catch any man’s heart. The season, the scene, the air, were all favourable to tenderness and sentiment.
~ Jane Austen, Mansfield Park

 


Jan 13 2012

on the best harp of 2011

Yes, it has been 2012 for thirteen days now, but I’m finally sitting down to write about, in my opinion, the best harp of 2011.

The event: Harpist Ann Hobson Pilot with the Chicago Sinfonietta in performance of the harp concerto written for her.

The music: On Willows and Birches

The composer: John Williams

The music was incredible, the performance captivating, and the experience accentuated by my personal interaction with Ann Hobson Pilot.  A few days before the concert I was privileged to meet with Ann Hobson Pilot and play for her. It was an incredible opportunity to work with an amazing musician who has her own dynamic style and who had such an impressive career with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Enjoy this short documentary about the music, the composer, and the harpist herself.

On Willows and Birches, John Williams, Ann Hobson Pilot


Aug 9 2011

a sunday afternoon of many harps

On August 7 I performed with a group of harpists at Holiday Retirement in Palatine. The father of a dear friend just moved there, and we wanted to perform a special concert in honor of him. This group of harpists are friends of all ages – some are students I’ve taught, some are colleagues I’ve gone to school with.

We had a wonderful time playing some ensemble music together as well as each of us performing a solo. We finished the concert with some show and tell about how the harp works.

And answered the usual round of questions…..”how do you move it? how much does it cost? how long have you played”

with the usual round of answers….”carefully. quite a bit. since I was 14.”

The audience was charming, and gave us each a bouquet. What’s not to love about being a harpist on a Sunday afternoon?


Aug 4 2011

wedding season

It was my joy to play for Jorge and Katy’s  wedding a few weeks ago. I loved how involved both families were in the ceremony; it was so special to accompany Katy’s brother Ted as he sang “How Beautiful” for the unity music. What a beautiful experience!

IMG_0021 (click for video)

The prelude music was split between me on the harp and the wonderful North Shore Brass Quintet. They did a fantastic job, and the antiphonal changes between brass and harp worked really well in the church space.

What a happy couple!

 


Jul 31 2011

col-lab-or-ation

Not the first place you’d expect to see a harp – in the band.  This is Florence Welch, of Florence and the Machine.  Her band is one of many who are including harp.  (Lady GaGa is another…but nothing she does is surprising anymore)  I think this is a hopeful sign of the times: it’s all about collaboration.   Collaboration between artists – and most importantly, across genres, is the future of music.  As genres and styles adapt to include each other, I think the inherent elitism within set styles of music will break down, and a wider range of musical enjoyment and output is opened!  When everyone can stop having to defend their own music’s inherent “better-than-your-musicyness” then we can all have alot more freedom to enjoy our drive to listen.

The first collaborative concert I experienced was in high school.  The Grand Rapids Symphony combined with the  Grand Rapids ballet for a setting of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons with modern dance.  That alone was a step – but then on top of that they added a jazz quintet improvising throughout.  Edgy.  It was fantastic.  From that moment I’ve loved the idea of mixing it up.  Too bad Lady GaGa already found a harpist….

Here’s Dog Days by Florence and the Machine (watch for the harpist – in a hooded cape)

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iWOyfLBYtuU&t=2s]