“Harp Heaven”: The 12th USA International Harp Competition Returns June 28-July 9

The United States International Harp Competition returns to Bloomington June 28-July 9. Competitors from 20 countries will travel to Bloomington to compete before a jury of distinguished international judges.

Every three years, competitors from around the world compete for gold, silver and bronze medals. The gold medalist will receive a Gold Style 23 harp, donated by Lyon & Healy Harps and valued at $55,000, along with a cash prize and concert commitments. Second through eighth prize winners also receive cash prizes.

The competition is open to harpists worldwide between the ages of 18 and 32. The competition is held over four rounds: three solo rounds and a final round consisting of a concerto with the Jacobs School of Music Summer Philharmonic, said Moya Wright, USA International Harp Competition Executive Director. The final round will take place at 7 p.m. on July 9 at the Center des arts musicales. Prize giving will follow at 9 p.m.

“The purpose behind this is to promote and maintain artistic excellence and appreciation for the harp and its repertoire,” Wright said. “It actually launches a lot of careers for young winners.”

The international jury is composed of jury president Naoko Yoshino from Japan, Anne-Sophie Bertrand from Germany, Shannon Shuen Chieh from Taiwan, Dickie Fleisher from the United States, Judy Loman from Canada and Isabelle Perrin from France. Full biographies of each judge are available on the United States International Harp Competition website.

Performances of the competition are free and open to the public. Along with the competition performances, there will be several featured concerts.

One of these star concerts will be the winner’s recital at 2 p.m. on July 3 at Auer Hall. The concert will feature Mélanie Laurent, gold medalist of the 11th USA International Harp Competition, and Luke Hsu, 2018 bronze medalist of the Indianapolis International Violin Competition. The event will cost $25 for adults and $15 for students. Tickets will be sold at the MAC box office and on Ticketmaster.

The Composition Forum featuring IU student Ari Schwartz will take place at 3 p.m. on July 6 at Ford Hall. Schwartz’s composition, winner of the USA International Harp Competition’s triennial composition competition for solo harpists, will be performed by all semi-finalists. The concert is free and open to the public.

The Stars of Tomorrow concert will be presented at 7 p.m. on July 6 at Auer Hall. The Stars of Tomorrow program highlights national and international winners under the age of 18. This year, five harpists representing the United States, Canada, South Korea, Japan and Hong Kong will perform. The concert is free and open to the public.

There will be a guest recital with jazz harpist Park Stickney and bassist Jeremy Allen at 7:30 p.m. on July 8 at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater. Tickets, sold at the BCT Box Office, are $25 for adults and $15 for students.

The United States International Harp Competition was founded by Susann McDonald, Professor Emeritus of Harp at the Jacobs School of Music, in 1989. Now in its 12th edition, the competition is recognized as one of the premier solo harp competitions. most prestigious and most lucrative in the world, according to the press release.

The competition is sponsored by the Jacobs School of Music and Lyon & Healy Harp. Jacobs will supply its performance halls, practice rooms and twelve of its own harps. Lyon & Healy Harp will also ship harps from Chicago, according to the press release.

“They’ll say Bloomington is harp heaven because there are so many harps,” Wright said.

In addition to those sponsors, The USA International Harp Competition also has private sponsors and a long-time following of supporters, Wright said.

“We have a fabulous wife, she’s been a fan for many, many years,” Wright said. “She is from Japan and she is 91 years old. She’s determined to come and watch her favorite competition, and I think that’s wonderful.

More competition information, a list of nominees, and a full schedule can be found on the United States International Harp Competition website.

Martin E. Berry