Lyric Opera’s Principal Harpist, Marguerite Lynn Williams, has been busy since she joined the orchestra in 2011. Her greatest passion, next to playing the fabulous operatic harp repertoire, is to play chamber music with other harpists! To make that possible, she started the Chicago Harp Quartet in 2012 with three other harpists and in May they will be travelling to Cuba as ambassadors for the harp.
“When I was a student there wasn’t much repertoire for harp ensemble or harp quartet. I have two sisters who also play the harp and we shared a harp growing up. That meant we could never play together!”
Lynn began creating arrangements of existing music for harp ensemble while in graduate school. Her varied arrangements are now part of the quartet’s repertoire and range in style from Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 to John Adams’ China Gates.
(For a complete repertoire list check out the CHQ website) http://chicagoharpquartet.com/
While participating in an educational residency at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music in 2015, the quartet met a young Cuban harpist, Annabel Gutierrez, who had been sponsored by the Cuban government to study in the US and return to Cuba to teach, perform and share what she had learned. Annabel helped the quartet put together a proposal to Mr. Orlando Vistel at the Instituto Cubano de la Musica in Havana to bring the CHQ to Cuba.
The quartet will perform a four harp arrangement of Antonio Vivaldi’s, L’Estro Amrmonico Op. 3, Concerto No. 10 with t
he Orquesta Juvenil del Conservatorio Amadeo Roldán, conducted by Daiana Garcia. They will also reach out to a broader audience at “The Art Factory”, an eatery/ gallery/performance space, in a jam session with Cuban harpists including Annabel and Cuban born Venezuelan harpist and composer, Alfredo Ortiz. CHQ’s feature concert on June 3rd will be broadcast on Cuban radio and television. The concert will be held at the 1500 seat Gran Teatro de La Habana, the grand opera house in Havana.
“We want to bring harps to Cuba and serve as role models for young harpists there. There are only four pedal harps in Cuba and all of them are in need of repair. The cost is prohibitive!”
Lynn will bring with her four student model lever harps, strings, music, tools and supplies to donate to the Cuban Music Institute. The Chicago based Lyon and Healy Harp Company is discounting the cost of the harps and has generously offered to match all donations to the project. In addition, they are sending a master technician to repair the Cuban pedal harps.
You can support this musical ambassadorship in two ways! Donate online OR come to the CHQ fundraising concert, 8-9:30 p.m. March 18, 2017 at Lyon and Healy, 168 N Ogden Ave, Chicago, IL