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. I also love the variety of orchestral repertoire, with a program that changes every week. 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.


Elisabeth_Remy_Johnson-520x245.jpg

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 AHSSummerInstitute.org.

 

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

FRIDAY, JUNE 21, 2019 ▪ 1:15PM ▪ WATSON CHAMBER MUSIC HALL

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 ahscampinnovation@gmail.com