On 14 October 2017, we welcome the first artist of the 2017-2018 season is Katherine Siochi, the award-winning harp soloist and newly appointed principal harpist of the Sarasota Orchestra. Ms. Siochi began her musical studies with the piano when she was 5 years old, and began learning the harp at age 9. She holds her Bachelor's and Master's degrees in harp performance from the Julliard School, where she studied with NY Philharmonic principal harpist Nancy Allen.
Katherine was the recipient of the distinguished Kovner Fellowship while earning her master's at Julliard. She has since won acclaim as the 2016 gold medalist of the 10th USA International Harp Competition, one of the world's most prestigious harp contests, and is only the second American to win the prize since 1989! Katherine has also received many awards in national harp competitions, as well as performing internationally.
The instrument that Katherine plays is the pedal harp (also known as the concert harp); this harp is a large and technically modern harp, designed primarily for classical music and played either solo, as part of a chamber ensemble, or in and orchestra. Pedal harps are essentially diatonic instruments which are fitted with the double-action pedal mechanism to allow chromatic alterations and key changes. They use the mechanical action of pedals to change the pitches of the strings. There are seven pedals, each affecting the tuning of all strings of one pitch-class. Each pedal is attached to a rod or cable within the column of the harp which then connects with a mechanism within the neck. When a pedal is moved with the foot, small discs at the top of the harp rotate. The discs are studded with two pegs that pinch the string as they turn, shortening its vibrating length. (Information source is Wikipedia.)
To hear a sample of Ms. Siochi's expertise on the harp, go to www.katherinesiochi.com/listen/ and click on the links to hear the various selections. Enjoy!