Yolanda Kondonassis, harpist


Yolanda Kondonassis, harpist
Photo credit: Robert Muller
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Crossover Interview (3:43)
Crossover Interview (3:43)


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.

Recent guest appearances have featured the Ginastera Hap Concerto -- a great pillar of the harp repertoire for which Yolanda is widely known and renowned. A current and popular solo recital program, "Conversations from the Harp" showcases key pieces of the harp literature and a discussion of the instrument's history from ancient times to the present.  She continues to tour with guitar duo partner, Jason Vieaux and teach at the Oberlin Conservatory and the Cleveland Institute of Music. 

Her newest recording release is "The American Harp" (June 2013, Azica Records); a monumental project involving works by some of America's great composers who wrote brilliantly for the harp beginning with John Williams' "The Lanes of Limerick" from his film score for "Angela's Ashes," Elliott Carter's "Bariolage," John Cage's "In a Landscape," Norman Dello Joio's Bagatelles, and first recordings of Stephen Paulus' Berceuse, Lowell Liebermann's Music for Harp and Hannah Lash's "Stalk."  

As a recording 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" with Joshua Smith and Cynthia Phelps on her environmentally-themed release, "Air."  Other recordings include a recent Azica Records release, "Solo Harp:  The Best of Yolanda Kondonassis" featuring previously recorded works of Bach, Gershwin, Hasselmans, Pierné, Saint-Saëns, Salzedo and Satie; her own 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 the Oberlin Conservatory of Music.
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 2013. Please discard previously dated materials and contact publicity@colbertartists.com before making any alterations or cuts.)