Large Field of Outstanding National Competition Finalists Selected

By Elaine Litster, National Competition Group Chair

Photo: American Harp Society 2017 National Competition Winners in Northfield, Minnesota.

Photo: American Harp Society 2017 National Competition Winners in Northfield, Minnesota.

The 23rd American Harp Society National Competition will take place June 16-19, 2019 in Watson Chamber Music Hall on the beautiful campus of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts! Forty-three finalists from throughout the country will be competing in five divisions for scholarship awards totaling over $23,000. The level of musicianship is outstanding, as evidenced by this being one of the largest fields of finalists, EVER. Finalists were selected by an esteemed panel of judges from among 115 entrants. Congratulations to all applicants and finalists!

This is the first time the National Competition has preceded the Summer Institute being held on the same campus (June 19-22, 2019). Institute attendees will not have to miss any of the competition and finalists have the option of attending the Institute without conflicts. For those unable to join us in Winston-Salem, the final competition division rounds and Winners' Recital, on Thursday, June 20 at 10:30 AM, will be live-streamed on the AHS Summer Institute Facebook page.

Competition Details

Photo: The renowned Watson Chamber Music Hall at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem, NC. Home to the American Harp Society, Inc. 23rd National Competition.

Photo: The renowned Watson Chamber Music Hall at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem, NC. Home to the American Harp Society, Inc. 23rd National Competition.

The competition begins Sunday afternoon, June 16, at 3:00 pm with nine finalists competing in the Intermediate II Division (up to age 18).

Monday, June 17 is dedicated entirely to the Young Profession Division Finals (up to age 30) from 9 AM-4:30 PM. The winner of this division becomes the AHS Concert Artist for two years and will have the opportunity to represent the AHS in performances and master classes throughout the country. Nine finalists are vying for this coveted title.

The Intermediate I Division (up to age 15) begins at 10 AM on Tuesday, June 18. The two youngest divisions are the largest, with 10 finalists competing in each. Also on Tuesday, beginning at 6:00 in the evening, five finalists will be competing in the Advanced Division (up to age 21).

The final Junior Division is for the youngest harpists (up to age 12). The Junior Division will be held Wednesday, June 19 from 8:30 AM to 12:30 PM. This is the only division where the finalists are screened from the judges' view.

The competition is free to the public, and all divisions are open. However, the audience is asked not to clap for the finalists or physically encourage the participants. This allows the music and the finalist's performance to be judged strictly on the merit of what the judges observe without audience influence. Door monitors will allow audience members to enter and exit only between competitors.

Competition Leadership

Photo: JoAnn Turovsky, AHS National Competition Chair

Photo: JoAnn Turovsky, AHS National Competition Chair

JoAnn Turovsky has chaired the AHS National Competition for 38 years. She was the winner of the Intermediate II division in 1972, and then the Young Professional award winner in 1975. In 1982, JoAnn began overseeing the competition. Her unique perspective as a competitor guides her competition administration.

Other people are intricately involved with the Competition, including Competition Administrator Alison Bjorkedal, and Seika Dong and Madeleine Brandli who will be overseeing the Competition operations on site in North Carolina. Thank you to all, including the esteemed judges who selected the finalists, and will be judging each division in June.

Competition Sponsors

The Gotthoffer Family Foundation is generously sponsoring the 1st place Young Professional Division award, and JoAnn Turovsky is commemorating her own experience by underwriting the Intermediate II division first prize. The AHS National Competition welcomes all sponsorships and financial support. Contact Kathy McManus if you are interested in supporting this biennial event. 

Don’t miss this opportunity to listen to some of the nation’s finest young harpists!

The repertoire lists and additional information can be found on the AHS websites: or

The Young Composers Project offers young harpists a unique opportunity to share their original compositions!

The Young Composers Project

Photo: American Harp Society, Inc. Young Composers Project 2017 Featured Composers in Northfield, Minnesota.

Photo: American Harp Society, Inc. Young Composers Project 2017 Featured Composers in Northfield, Minnesota.

The Young Composers Project is a biennial national educational program for harpists-composers ages 25 and under. The project provides an opportunity for young harpists to broaden their relationship with their instrument by composing an original harp score and applying to become a featured composer at the 2019 Summer Institute in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Selected featured composers will perform their original compositions in concert during the Institute and engage in compositional workshops, masterclasses, and one-on-one personal feedback sessions led by our distinguished 2019 YCP faculty, Dan Locklair and Alyssa Reit. Today we talk with harpist-composers and members of the YCP committee, Julia Kay Jamieson, Laura Zaerr, and Rachel Brandwein about the benefits of composing and how young harpists can best prepare a composition or start the composition process.

What makes the Young Composers Project a unique educational program for young harpists? 

Jamieson: The Young Composers Project gives each participant valuable feedback, encouragement, and opportunities to grow as an artist. It welcomes harpists to write in any style they like and for exactly the level that they are. Most importantly, it’s a program that highlights creativity and expression! 

Brandwein: Many broader writing opportunities are geared towards experienced composers who write for an array of instruments. The YCP is unique because this is not a competition; rather, it serves as an opportunity for young harpist-composers to share their writing projects with their teachers and peers, receive feedback, it gives them a fun goal!

How is composing beneficial to young harpists? 

Zaerr: As young musicians we need to focus on building technique and repertoire.  But we also need to explore the creative range of our instrument, and our own expressive voice.  The Young Composers Project allows an opportunity to explore the nitty-gritty of how pieces are put together.  In the process of writing our own music, our analytical skills are enhanced, making it easier to understand other composers and how other pieces are put together. 

Brandwein: Writing music fosters growth in understanding music theory and developing the ear--among other factors, like personal expression. This exercise helps transfer these skills to standard harp repertoire and, in turn, hones students' musical levels and artistry.

Any tips for young harpists to prepare a composition or start the composition process? 

Zaerr: Have fun with the sound of your instrument.  Light a candle, or play in the dark.  Start with a rhythmic motif, and set the pedals weird.  Sometimes a phone number or a birth date can be the impetus for a theme:  1=A, 2=B, etc...   

Brandwein: If students are having a tough time starting a piece, ask them if they can hear any music in their head (melodies, rhythms, or colors of music). Sometimes this is a great place to start. They can then spend time at their instrument and compile these ideas.

Jamieson: Find inspiration! It can be in a story, a person, a news topic, a color, or a simple melody. Experiment and be playful. Brainstorm musical ideas! Ask yourself - What do I want to say with your piece?

Any tips for teachers to help their students prepare a composition? 

Zaerr: Be open minded to all styles.  Keep a light hand on issues of form.  If they can play it, they can write it. 

What do you hope young harpists gain from being a part of the YCP? 

Zaerr: I hope for each participant, whether chosen to be featured or not, would gain a richer understanding of the under-pinnings of music, and most importantly, a deeper relationship with your own unique creative process.

What do you love about being a composer?

Jamieson: I love goofing off on my harp- trying new sounds and thinking of ways to musically illustrate different ideas. I love thinking about and working on the shape and construction of a piece. I love sharing what I have written with audiences. One of my favorite parts is sharing what I have written with other musicians and hearing them play it! 

Zaerr: I love the process.  I love that anything is possible;  a path that could go any place, or floating down a river, and you don't know what's around the bend.  The immensity of possibilities draws me as I imagine sculpting time using sound. 

Brandwein: I love the sound of the harp. I love blending colors, registers, textures, techniques, and the personality of the instrument into a story of my own! I also love the feeling of reaching the goal of finishing writing a piece of music, as well as sharing it with others.

2017 Young Composers Project

Featured composers were mentored by Libby Larsen & Rachel Brandwein in Northfield, Minnesota.

Be inspired this summer!

A recording of the outstanding 2017 Young Composers concert is available for viewing online as well as in the Video Library of your AHS membership portal.  Learn more about the program and criteria, and apply online by midnight on March 14, 2019.

Abigail Kent, AHS Concert Artist 2017-2019 shares her experiences and offers tips to competitors!

Adventures of The AHS Concert Artist

Abigail Kent was awarded 1st Prize in the 2017 American Harp Society National Competition, Young Professional Division, earning her the title of AHS Concert Artist for 2017-2019. As Concert Artist, Abigail has presented recitals and masterclasses throughout the United States and Canada. A graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, studying with Elizabeth Hainen, Abigail is currently pursuing a Master of Music degree in harp performance at the Mannes School of Music in New York City, studying with Emmanuel Ceysson. Today we spoke with Abigail about her tenure and advice for future competitors.

What have you loved most about being the AHS Concert Artist? 

Kent: Besides the incredible opportunity to travel all over to perform recitals, I would have to say my favorite aspect of my tenure as Concert Artist is working with masterclass students. I have always loved the idea of teaching and my first masterclass as Concert Artist was the first time I taught formally. Throughout my tenure, I simply wanted to keep teaching and finding better ways to communicate my ideas to the students. For me, the hardest thing about masterclasses was the limited time! I tried to focus on the most important aspects of a piece or try to show the students a different perspective. That way, any work I had not covered could at least be explored by the students themselves.

Do you have a favorite memory?  

Kent: Continuing on my love of teaching, my favorite memories are days that were full of teaching! The first was when I visited Provo, Utah, where I was being asked to perform for the annual Utah Harp Festival as Concert Artist. After arriving in the morning the day before the festival, I went straight to teaching various students who wanted help for the competition the next day. I taught all afternoon and even into the evening! It was tiring for sure, but I definitely loved working with every student. At the festival itself, I gave a formal masterclass following my recital and later in the day was also one of the judges for the older divisions of the festival competition – a first for me. I was also in Odessa, TX, and Vincent Pierce, who is in charge of the AHS chapter there, took me all over to the various schools where he taught, from the high school students over to the middle school classroom, and finally lessons for his college students. Most recently, I went to the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem, the location of the upcoming 2019 AHS Summer Institute and National Competition. I was hosted by Jacquelyn Bartlett, my high school teacher and co-chair of the Institute. The day after my recital, we started bright and early with the students. I gave a masterclass for all the harpists at UNCSA and then drove with Jacquelyn to give a masterclass to her private students.

Any tips for the competitors preparing to compete this year? 

Kent: There are many things that you can do to navigate competitions and have a positive experience. Firstly, remember this is music. We’re meant to evoke something, usually an emotion or a “picture” or a “story.” Communicate that to the audience always. Of course, being note-accurate will help you in that you will be playing the right harmonies, rhythms, etc. to share the full story of the piece. But you must be more than a machine who punches out the right notes at the right time – be the player who takes the audience on a journey. A tip that helped me was recording and listening to myself with my phone or a simple recording device, and being honest with what I heard, as if I were judging someone else. Do you like what you hear? What would you like to hear more of? Also, playing for many different people, including harpists, non-harpist musicians, as well as non-musicians, can show you things you wouldn’t necessarily notice. It also helps to prepare by playing in stressful situations to simulate what you might feel in a competition so it’s not as intimidating when you walk onstage and you’re more able to express the music.

Any advice for the new 2019-2021 AHS Concert Artist? 

Kent: For the new Concert Artist, I would say pace yourself, in whatever way you know best. For me, that was grouping two or sometimes three AHS chapter events in a weekend with often a break in between the clusters. For other people, they may want to spread out the chapters more evenly. Also, make sure if you’re still in school that you’re able to juggle your educational demands with scheduling the AHS concerts. Being Concert Artist includes lots of emails, scheduling, promotion, and buying plane/train tickets, so try to avoid a situation where it all piles up. Keeping this in mind, don’t forget to enjoy this incredible experience. Be sure you get to know the many different people you meet along the way, and especially your AHS chapter hosts!

Adventures of the AHS Concert Artist 2017-2019


Attend the National Competition this summer and stay for the Summer Institute! 


The 2019 American Harp Society National Competition will be held June 16-19, 2019 at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem, NC. Attendance to the competition finals are free and open to the public. The AHS Summer Institute will be held June 19-22, 2019 following the Competition. Campus housing will be available from June 16th through the 22nd. Students ages 12-17 can also join us for the AHS 2019 Camp Innovation and stay on campus in supervised residential housing. There will be public evening concerts for the entire week, Monday through Friday.

Meet Abigail Kent

Abigail will present the opening recital for the AHS Summer Institute on Wednesday, June 19, 2019 at 1:00PM and will be the keynote speaker at the opening membership gathering and dessert reception that will follow her performance. In addition, Abigail will serve on a panel discussion on competition preparation with Maria Luisa Rayan and Ann Yeung on Friday, June 21, 2019 at 3:00PM and 3:45PM during the Institute. Make plans to join us! Event details and registration information is available on


Elisabeth Remy Johnson, Principal Harpist of the Atlanta Symphony offers insight into orchestra life!

The Harp & Orchestra

Many young harpists dream of a successful career as a concerto soloist and orchestral harpist. Elisabeth Remy Johnson, Principal Harpist of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra since 1995, is living this dream, having performed major harp concertos and orchestral repertoire. Ms. Remy Johnson will perform an evening solo recital and lead a master class on concertos and orchestra excerpts at the American Harp Society, Inc. Summer Institute to be held June 19-22, 2019 in Winston-Salem, NC. Today she offers personal insight into life as an orchestral harpist and how students can best prepare for this type of a career.

What is your favorite part about performing with an orchestra?

Remy Johnson: There are lots of things I love about performing with an orchestra! I love being part of a team, and being inspired by my colleagues. Just last weekend, a bunch of us broke into barely concealed smiles as one of our colleagues went to town on a clarinet solo in West Side Story. It’s lots of fun to hear personalities being expressed, and getting to play around with that as part of the group. I also love the variety of orchestral repertoire, with a program that changes every week. Also, we team up to present projects like “Works by Women”, a chamber music program we’re presenting this March as a musical celebration of International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month. We have a wide range of composers represented in our program, from Clara Schumann, who celebrates a 200th birth anniversary this September, to Mary Kouyoumdjian, a composer in her 20s living in Brooklyn. We will perform it as pre-concert chamber music at Symphony Hall, and also at art galleries and schools around Atlanta. And – this has to be said – I love having a great harp at the hall and not having to move mine around for every concert!!


Any advice for students wanting to pursue a career as an orchestral musician and concerto soloist?

Remy Johnson: My advice would be to make it a goal to always keep learning. Challenge yourself to learn as much repertoire as you can, and I don’t mean just excerpts. While your technique has to be razor-sharp for the orchestra parts, excerpts alone won’t get it where it needs to be. Stay curious about learning new pieces, especially ones you don’t “have to” for a lesson or a concert. Play plenty of chamber music to develop your ear and your ability to respond in the moment to what another musician is doing. Try to learn from every experience. One of my colleagues, a bass player in the orchestra, is now a world-renowned composer because he opens up his ears and learns from everything we play, whether his part is “exciting” or whether he’s counting rests. He has thought about what works in pieces by the masters, and what works and doesn’t work in new pieces we’re playing. I’m not saying we all have to go out there and compose harp music (though a bunch more harpist/composers would certainly be welcome!), but find your own mindset and approach to music-making that keeps it fresh and interesting, and challenge yourself to grow from every experience.


Do you have any favorite orchestral repertoire or a particular composer that you love to play?

Remy Johnson: I love playing Mahler because the emotional content is so profound. I also am a huge fan of ballet, so love it when we play Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev. (I honestly still love playing the Nutcracker cadenza!) I also love playing the music of Michael Kurth, the composer who plays in the ASO, whom I mentioned. His music is really beautiful, and the rhythms can be very unexpected and complex, which is fun.


Learn from Elisabeth Remy Johnson this summer!

Ms. Remy Johnson will take the AHS Summer Institute stage on Friday, June 21, 2019 at 7:30PM presenting a solo recital performance alongside the Chicago Harp Quartet! Her master class on concertos and orchestra excerpts will be held on Saturday, June 22, 2019 at 9:15AM. In addition, Ms. Remy Johnson with Maria Luisa Rayan will lead Camp Innovation, an immersive one-week residential camp for harpists ages 12-17 held in conjunction with the Institute & National Competition. Plan to join us! Event details, registration, and master class application information is available on


Q & A with Lynne Aspnes on the new American Harp Society, Inc. 2019 Camp Innovation

Lynne Aspnes    is Professor Emerita of Harp from the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance, Ann Arbor, Michigan, and currently serves as President of the American Harp Society, Inc.

Lynne Aspnes is Professor Emerita of Harp from the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance, Ann Arbor, Michigan, and currently serves as President of the American Harp Society, Inc.

Empowering Harpists through Learning, Performing & Teaching

The American Harp Society introduces 2019 Camp Innovation to be held June 16-22, 2019 in conjunction with the 2019 Summer Institute and National Competition at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem, NC. We sit down with Lynne Apsnes, President of the American Harp Society and discuss the vision for Camp Innovation and how the 2019 Summer Institute empowers students of all ages, teachers, and performing artists alike.

What makes Camp Innovation unique from other summer harp programs? 

Aspnes: First let me say thank you to Institute co-chairs, Jacquelyn Bartlett and Grace Ludtke, and the University of North Carolina School of the Arts for making it possible for the AHS to offer a residential camp alongside the Summer Institute and the finals of the National Competition. We are very excited to expand our programming to reach out to a generation of young and enthusiastic harpists and we couldn't have done that without all of you! 

We feel that what's unique about this camp is that it combines a supervised residential camp experience -- with master classes, practice time, ensemble, performances, dormitory living, and fun social activities -- with access to a whole host of fantastic harpist advocates, composers, performers, and teachers. We have discrete programming planned for our young campers led by world class artists and teachers Elisabeth Remy Johnson and Maria Luisa Rayan as well as access to all of the AHS National Competition final division performances, all of the Summer Institute programming, and camper participation in the final concert of the Summer Institute. It’s going to be a dazzling week of opportunity for everyone involved. 

What do you hope students will gain from participating in Camp Innovation? 

Aspnes: All of us in the AHS hope these young harpists meet lots of new people and make many new friends. We hope the experiences at the camp will help students build their harp communities and inspire their learning both during the week and for many weeks to come when they go home.  We hope everyone who attends the 2019 Camp Innovation will leave feeling they have gained confidence in their skills and creativity, and that they feel empowered to do good for the harp through sharing what they have learned with their harp friends, teachers, local AHS chapters, and the broader community of music lovers out there! 

The camp is for students ages 12 to 17. Are there opportunities for students of other ages to be involved with the AHS Summer Institute?

Aspnes: There are, and we hope a whole lot of students of all ages will attend the 2019 Institute!  This Institute will be an affordable option for many people and the jam packed schedule makes the investment a worthy one. The programming is geared towards learning: for students of all ages, for teachers, and for performing artists alike.  There are participatory programs planned, including the master classes and the Young Composers Project; inspiring performances by emerging and established artists, varied and comprehensive lectures and workshop topics, and multiple opportunities to learn about and experience health and wellness training! We will all be leaving with new knowledge and understanding about the harp and how we can advance in our own abilities.

American Harp Society, Inc. Executive Committee at the 2016 AHS National Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

American Harp Society, Inc. Executive Committee at the 2016 AHS National Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

Join us this summer!

All events will be held at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem, NC. Campus housing is available from June 16th through the 22nd. There will be public evenings concerts for the entire week, Monday through Friday.


Camp Innovation

Ages 12-17, lever or pedal harp, no audition, registration deadline is May 1, 2019

June 16-22, 2019

National Competition

Admission to final rounds of competition are free and open to public

June 16-19, 2019


Summer Institute

All ages, register by April 1, 2019 and save $40

June 19-22, 2019

Young Composers Project

25 and under, apply by March 14, 2019

June 19-22, 2019


Meet Nikolaz Cadoret! Bringing the harp to unexplored fields on the international stage!

Evolution of a Harpist

Innovators have always been the driving force in music, not content to just entertain but to move the art forward. French harpist Nikolaz Cadoret is a creative force in the music world, renewing the Celtic harp repertoire and bringing the electric harp to unexplored fields on international stages. He creates intimate and virtuoso dialogues with his instruments, however acoustic or electric, sweet or explosive, building unsuspected bridges between contemporary inspiration and classical tradition, without restraint.

Hear Nikolaz Cadoret perform live in concert at the American Harp Society, Inc. 13th Summer Institute held June 19-22, 2019 at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem, NC. Cadoret will also lead a masterclass on Celtic/lever harp literature and a workshop on electric harp and improvisation for Institute attendees. Immerse yourself in innovative techniques and creative inspiration this summer at the 13th Summer Institute by registering here >>

Meet Nikolaz Cadoret

A native of Brittany, harpist Nikolaz Cadoret is a versatile musician trained in Celtic and Classical traditions. He is a graduate of the Hochschule Zürich and worked for several years as a solo harpist in Germany, most notable for the Komische Oper in Berlin. Cadoret performs as a concert soloist throughout Europe and has collaborated with Komische Oper Berlin, Berliner Philharmoniker, the Toronto Symphony, and Opernhaus Zürich orchestras. Mr. Cadoret is the Professor of Harp at the Brest Conservatoire of Music in France, lecturer at the IMEP of Namur in electric harp, and on the faculty of the Musikkhøgskole of Oslo. His teaching and performances while deeply rooted in the Celtic tradition draw on his multi-disciplinary interests and abilities, synthesizing contemporary and classical traditions into a new expression.


Meet Marguerite Lynn Williams, Masterclass Presenter for the 2019 AHS Summer Institute!

Masterclass: Musical Storytelling: Orchestra, Opera & Ballet excerpts with Marguerite Lynn Williams


The sound of the harp plays many different character roles in iconic orchestra, opera, and ballet repertoire, from depicting the tranquility of a peaceful landscape to the exuberant joy of victory. Discover the power of musical storytelling with Marguerite Lynn Williams, Principal Harpist of the Chicago Lyric Opera Orchestra and founder of the Chicago Harp Quartet. Ms. Williams will cover style and performance practice, while providing tips for success in even the most challenging harp excerpts.

Apply with cadenzas and excerpts from orchestra, opera, and ballets, such as Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, Ravel’s Tzigane & Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker or Swan Lake. Apply here >>

Marguerite Lynn Williams is Principal Harpist for the Chicago Lyric Opera orchestra, founder of the Chicago Harp Quartet, and founding member of the International Chamber Artists and La Folia (harp & flute). Ms. Williams has performed across the globe and appeared with many orchestras, including the Chicago, Milwaukee, Minnesota, San Diego, and Toronto symphonies. She is the head of the harp departments at the Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University and Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. Ms. Williams holds the Master of Music degree from the Chicago School of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University studying with Sarah Bullen and the Bachelor of Music degree and Performer’s Certificate from the Eastman School of Music studying with Kathleen Bride.


The deadline for your masterclass application is April 15, 2019.  If selected to perform, you will be notified by May 1, 2019.


Meet our world-class faculty for the American Harp Society, Inc. 2019 Camp Innovation for ages 12-17!

AHS Camp Innovation

ONE-WEEK SESSION - June 16-22, 2019

The American Harp Society, Inc. 2019 Camp Innovation will be held June 16-22, 2019 at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem, held in conjunction with the 2019 Summer Institute and National Competition. This one-week residential camp is open to lever and pedal harpists ages 12-17 and led by distinguished faculty, Maria Luisa Rayan and Elisabeth Remy Johnson. This program offers exclusive access to a week of educational and musical programming, while staying on the beautiful UNCSA campus. This camp is distinguished from all other harp camps because of the valuable opportunity to engage in all AHS events.

meet the 2019 AHS camp innovation faculty

Maria Luisa Rayan    was awarded the Silver Medal at the USA International Harp Competition in both 1998 and 2001. Her harp studies began in her native Argentina and culminated to the United States where she studied harp with Susann McDonald at Indiana University.

Maria Luisa Rayan was awarded the Silver Medal at the USA International Harp Competition in both 1998 and 2001. Her harp studies began in her native Argentina and culminated to the United States where she studied harp with Susann McDonald at Indiana University.

Elisabeth Remy Johnson    is the Principal Harpist of the Atlanta Symphony. A graduate of Harvard University with a double major in Music and French, she studied harp with Ann Hobson Pilot in Boston and Alice Chalifoux at the Salzedo Harp Colony in Camden, Maine.

Elisabeth Remy Johnson is the Principal Harpist of the Atlanta Symphony. A graduate of Harvard University with a double major in Music and French, she studied harp with Ann Hobson Pilot in Boston and Alice Chalifoux at the Salzedo Harp Colony in Camden, Maine.


What makes Camp Innovation unique to other summer harp programs? 

Ms. Rayan: The Camp Innovation is truly unique in its format. It gives its participants the opportunity to benefit from a traditional summer camp setup, with the added component of being completely immersed in the AHS Summer Institute activities and the National Competition. This is a rare opportunity of experiencing so many areas of the harp, including studying in depth the repertoire, attending concerts and listening to competitors, it doesn't get more comprehensive than that anywhere else! 

Ms. Remy Johnson: I am really enthusiastic about this great new idea of offering a camp in conjunction with the AHS Summer Institute, and am excited and happy to be invited to be a part of it. The offerings will be fully aligned in coordination with the Institute, and the campers will truly have the best of both worlds - all of the offerings of an intensive camp, complemented and enhanced by the events during the competition and Institute. From a practical point of view, it's an ideal situation to enable students to attend the AHS Institute, whether or not a parent/guardian is available to accompany them for the week. 


What do you hope students gain from being a Camp Innovation participant? 

Ms. Rayan: It is my hope that students come to the Camp Innovation with a high level of preparation so they can work at their highest potential, that they attend as many concerts and workshops as they can and that they leave with renewed inspiration, many friendships and a deeper appreciation for our instrument, the harp, and its many possibilities.

Ms. Remy Johnson: I hope that all students gain a confidence and excitement about playing the harp, and enjoy a sense of camaraderie with the other campers. I hope they will leave the camp all fired up to use imagination and creativity to discover what they love most about being a musician. 


What do you love most about playing the harp and being a teacher?

Ms. Rayan: When I perform I love to communicate, to hopefully touch a person's soul, and the same applies to when I teach. Also, when I teach, I want to make a person realize his/her full potential in playing, and in everyday life. 

Ms. Remy Johnson: My favorite thing about playing the harp and being a teacher is the sense of reaching beyond myself to make a connection - whether it's trying to discern the composer's intention, sharing a musical moment with an audience, or really getting inside of an issue a student is grappling with.


Make 2019 Camp Innovation your summer harp destination


For programming details and tuition information, visit the Camp Innovation page here. If you are ready to register, visit the registration page here. Registration deadline for Camp Innovation is May 1, 2019. Registration is limited so please do not wait to register. Registrations received after this program has filled will be placed on a waiting list pending withdrawals.

Questions? Please contact Camp Administrator, Grace Ludtke at