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Famous Harp Players Around the World

The harp is a remarkably intriguing musical instrument and the world has seen may great harpists. Here is a list of five of the most famous harp players around the globe.

Nancy Allen

Nancy Allen. Photo: Chris Lee

Born to a music teacher, Allen is a popular American harpist. Her proficiency as a harp player was evident in the various international competitions that she won at a young age. She won the prestigious Israel International Harp Competition in 1973 and has been the Principal Harpist of the New York Philharmonic. In her 20-year teaching profession, she has tutored many successful students. Allen serves as head of the harp departments at the Juilliard School and Aspen Music Festival and School. She once headed the harp department at the Yale School of Music as well.

Dr. Alfredo Rolando Ortiz

Dr. Ortiz is a world-renowned soloist of the Paraguayan harp. He has composed and performed classical, folk, and popular music of many countries before people of all ages and backgrounds. His multicultural harp repertoire includes forty albums and several harping books (for both adults and children) and articles. Dr. Ortiz won a Gold Record in South America. His “Venezolana for Five Pedal Harps” is one of the favorite harp ensembles in the world. His composition performed by 232 harpists during the 2008 Tenth World Harp Congress broke the Guinness World Record of the largest harp ensemble.

Yolanda Kondonassis

Debuting her music career at age 18, Kondonassis is an American solo harpist renowned as today’s most recorded classical harpist. She is a professor of harp and regarded as a brilliant and expressive player with a stunning technique. Kondonassis has written several books and has played as a concerto soloist and in recitals around the world. She has won various prestigious awards including the Cleveland Arts Prize and some of the best honors in the New York Philharmonic National Young Artists Competition. Her discography includes 19 titles, one of which was nominated for Grammy Award. She heads the harp departments at The Cleveland Institute of Music and Oberlin Conservatory of Music.

Loreena McKennitt

Loreena McKennitt

She is a Canadian artist, composer, and multi-instrumentalist. McKennitt’ writes and performs Celtic and Middle Eastern-themed music. She is popular for her refined and clear emotional soprano vocals. Four of her 9 albums have made platinum and gold in many countries. For instance, her albums “The Visit” and “The Mask and Mirror” were 4-time and 3-time platinum respectively in Canada while “The Book of Secrets” made platinum twice in the US. She has sold in excess of 14 million records worldwide. Her album “Troubadours on the Rhine” was nominated for 2012 Grammy awards. She has sold in excess of 14 million records around the world.

Joh Anderson

He is an English musician, composer, and multi-instrumentalist best known as the former lead vocalist in the “Yes” progressive rock band. His concepts and lyrics are generally mystically themed. He is also an accomplished solo artist and has collaborated with many great harp players and other artists. His discography includes 15 albums. In 1979, Anderson played the harp in “Flamants Roses” on Vangelis’s album “Opéra Sauvage”.