Yolanda Kondonassis is celebrated as one of the world’s premiere solo harpists and is widely regarded as today’s most recorded classical harpist. Hailed as “an extraordinary virtuosa” and “sheer luminescence at the harp,” she has performed around the globe as a concerto soloist and in recital, bringing her unique brand of musicianship and warm artistry to an ever-increasing audience.
Since making her debut at age 18 with the New York Philharmonic and Zubin Mehta, Ms. Kondonassis has appeared as soloist with numerous orchestras, including the Cleveland Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Houston Symphony, Dallas Symphony, Philadelphia Chamber Orchestra, Phoenix Symphony, New World Symphony, San Diego Symphony, Detroit Symphony, and Montreal Symphony.
Highlights of the current season include the Ginastera Harp Concerto – a great pillar of the harp repertoire, for which Ms. Kondonassis is widely renowned – with the Austin, El Paso, and York symphony orchestras. She reunites with regular recital partner, guitarist Jason Vieaux, for a recital for the State University of New York at Buffalo, and at El Paso Pro Musica she unveils a new solo recital program, “Conversations from the Harp,” in which she plays key pieces of the harp literature, and discusses the instrument’s history from ancient times to the present. She also takes “Conversations from the Harp” to the Museum of Music Making in Carlsbad, California.
In recent seasons Ms. Kondonassis performed the Ginastera Harp Concerto with conductor Christopher Zimmerman and the Fairfax Symphony, with Timothy Muffit and the Lansing and Baton Rouge symphony orchestras, and in Brazil, with Fabio Mechetti and the Orquestra Filarmônica de Minas Gerais. She performed Debussy’s Danses sacrée et profane and the Hovhaness Harp Concerto with the Kalamazoo Symphony, and joined frequent collaborator, Eugenia Zukerman, for the Mozart Flute and Harp Concerto with Jaap van Zweden and the Dallas Symphony at Bravo! Vail Valley. Chamber and recital concerts include dates with Ms. Zukerman, and a Dumbarton Oaks concert with frequent collaborators flutist Joshua Smith and violist Cynthia Phelps.
As a widely renowned and recorded artist, Ms. Kondonassis has been praised by Gramophone magazine for the “clarity, colour, and rhythmic vitality of [her] playing.” She has sold over 100,000 albums worldwide, and received a Grammy nomination for her recording of Toro Takemitsu’s “And Then I Knew ‘Twas Wind,” a track with Joshua Smith and Cynthia Phelps on her environmentally-themed album, Air. Other recordings include her own (and the first-ever) harp transcription of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons with the Orchestra of Flanders, an all-Hovhaness album, and the world premiere recording of Bright Sheng’s Never Far Away: Concerto for Harp and Orchestra. Composed for and premiered by Ms. Kondonassis, the concerto was commissioned by and performed with the San Diego Symphony, the Dallas Symphony, the Grand Rapids Symphony and Oberlin Conservatory of Music. Most recently, Azica Records released Solo Harp: The Best of Yolanda Kondonassis, featuring including pieces by Bach, Gershwin, Hasselmans, Pierné, Saint-Saëns, Salzedo, and Satie.
A devoted chamber musician, Ms. Kondonassis has performed at the Marlboro, Spoleto, Tanglewood, Vail, Bay Chamber, Strings in the Mountains, Innsbrook, and Mainly Mozart Festivals. She has collaborated with members of the Alban Berg, Guarneri, Shanghai, and Vermeer string quartets, and recently toured New Zealand with the Still/Chase/Kondonassis Trio. She has appeared regularly in concert with the Rossetti String Quartet, with violinist Chee-Yun and flutist Eugenia Zukerman.
In addition to her work as a performer and educator, Ms. Kondonassis is a prolific author, with many scores, and books to her credit. These works include On Playing the Harp, a comprehensive guide to harp technique and methodology that has quickly become a standard in the harp pedagogy literature; The Yolanda Kondonassis Collection, a compilation of her many original transcriptions, arrangements and compositions for the harp; and The Yolanda Kondonassis Christmas Collection, featuring Ms. Kondonassis’ most popular arrangements from her acclaimed recording, Dream Season: The Christmas Harp. She also published a children’s book in 2010 to mark the fortieth anniversary of Earth Day: Our House is Round; A Kid’s Book About Why Protecting the Earth Matters.
Her long list of national and international honors includes top prizes in the Affiliate Artists National Auditions in New York, the Maria Korchinska International Harp Competition in Great Britain and the Cleveland Arts Award in 2011. The recipient of two Solo Recitalist Grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the first harpist to receive the Darius Milhaud Prize, Ms. Kondonassis has been featured on CNN and PBS television as well as National Public Radio’s All Things Considered, St. Paul Sunday Morning, and Performance Today. In addition to her active performing and recording schedule, Ms. Kondonassis heads the harp departments at The Cleveland Institute of Music and Oberlin College Conservatory, and has presented masterclasses around the world.
Ms. Kondonassis was born in Norman, Oklahoma, where she began studying the harp at age nine. She continued her education at the Cleveland Institute of Music, where she received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees as a student of Alice Chalifoux.
For more information on Yolanda Kondonassis, visit her web site at yolandaharp.com
(July 2012. Please discard previously dated materials and contact firstname.lastname@example.org before making any alterations or cuts.)