Wednesday, July 18, 2012


HILA would like to thank Paul Baker for this post, Julia Schorn, Josh Bicknell and Keri Armendariz for their images. Read Paul's post below:

The 40th National Conference of the American Harp Society was jam-packed, fun-filled and wonderful! New York was the perfect place to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the AHS, with two world premiers of commissioned works as well as New York premier performances, chamber music concerts, workshops, master classes, harp vendors and lots of spectacular harp playing.

"The AHS Conference was the best one yet - where else but in New York, New York, can you play the harp in the middle of a place like Times Square? The people passing by were fascinated and amazed!

The conference was packed with inspirational concerts, fantastic workshops, and great exhibits. I was also able to meet and connect with harpists from all over!"

~Julia Marie Schorn; harpist, San Diego, CA

So many great performances took place; Sivan Magen's playing was the most beautiful and affecting, I think. Park Stickney performed late one night with a bass, drums and a wonderful, quirky singer, who sang a few of his own songs with Park. One, was about his pit bull, and another about not mumbling your life away. Lyon & Healy had created an electro-acoustic Walnut/Bronze Style 23 that Park played with a sound very clear and even. Park played his jazz version of the Debussy Danses and the crowd went wild.

"We were absolutely honored to be asked to play at the conference and enjoyed it tremendously. Thanks again to the American Harp Society for asking us to play!"

- Josh Bicknell, drummer with the group, double-breasted, Brooklyn, NY

Kristy Chmura: harp, vocals
Ardith Collins: cello, vocals
Josh Bicknell: drums, vocals

Went to Yolanda Kondonassis’ master class on the Ravel Introduction and Allegro. It was so great, but too short. Went to Sivan's master class where we worked exclusively on tone production. It also was very, very good, but too short.

Carl Swanson brought his Erard Gothique harp which was played in a concert. He spoke about how this was the harp that all of Europe played; Renie, Laskine, Hasselmans, etc. Straight board, smaller in general, no veneer over the sound board, lots of room on the top strings, 47 strings with the action on the top G. Nice, clear clean, sparkly sound and not a very big bass sound, of course. Very cool.

There were several chamber music concerts, and Erin Hill, Brandee Younger and other pop players as much to see and do!

Time Square, with all its energy and history was a great setting for this unforgettable gathering of harpists and I think we all came away inspired and energized.

I am really looking forward to next year's American Harp Society Summer Institute and National Competition being held right here in downtown Los Angeles!

Times Solo: Harpist Julia Marie Schorn in Times Square by Jo Ann Schorn.
Sound Check: double-breasted preparing for conference concert by Josh Bicknell.
Touch & Play: Lyon & Healy harps on display in exhibition hall by Keri Armendariz.
We Harp NY: Says it all in Convention Hall by Josh Bicknell.

Paul Baker
10th Summer Institute & 20th National Competition in LA
Look Into The Future: HILA's radio mix of music featuring some performers during the "Into the Future" 2013 Convention Concert Series.

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