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Help please: High School Level Harp Parts

  • Katie
    Katie Lynch Koglin

    I need to brainstorm and was wondering what ideas everony else has.  I was asked for suggestions for high school level harp parts, specifically for regional orchestra auditions.  Now I sang more than played harp in regionals when I was in high school since harp parts were few and far between or I played other instrument parts, as we all have.  What harp parts do you recommend? 

    I remember playing "Pavane for a Dead Princess" and "The Montegues and the Capultets" from "Romeo and Juliet" in regionals, but I'm blanking on what else I played with the orchestra in high school (although I know I played more).  I also thought about "Processional of the Nobles."  I played "Nutcracker" and several musicals during high school as well, but I'm looking for more.  Any ideas would be helpful.  Thanks!

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    replies to "Help please: High School Level Harp Parts"
    • Angela
      Angela Madjarova

      Hi Katie,

      I suggest:  

      A.Boridin - Polovetsian Dances

      P. Dukas - L'apprenti Sorcier

      A.Dvorak - Carnaval Overture

      E.Elgar - Pomp & Circumstance

      G.Faure - Requiem

      A.Khacharurian - Suite from Gayane

      E.Lalo - Symphonie Espanol

      F.Lehar - Overture -The merry widow

      M.Moussorgsky - Khovanstina Introduction

      J.Offenbach - Overture - La belle Helene

      D.Shostakovitch - 5th Symphony

      Hope gave you an idea

      Best regards,


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    • Unknown
      Unknown User

      Great list, for high school/youth orchestra I'd add Mahler 1, Mussorgsky Night on Bare Mountain, Vaughan Williams Greensleeves and maybe also the Wasps. Elgar Sea Pictures (with mezzo soprano though). And what about Bizet Carmen Suite, Bizet L'Arlessienne 1 & 2. I did Spartacus Suite no 2 in youth orchestra, but it is for a large band and may not be do-able for school orchestra. And maybe Malcolm Arnold Four Cornish Dances? And I remember doing the Billy the Kid Suite by Copland in junior orchestra and the kids really enjoying the colours and the imagry in it.

      Hope this helps,


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    • Frances
      Frances Duffy

      I would add Copland Appalachian Spring Suite.  But the Dukas Sorcerer's Apprentice is much too difficult for a high school level harpist.  Even though the difficult parts are mostly covered by the rest of the orchestra, it can be discouraging to a young harpist to try to learn such a difficult part.  It was actually included on the recent San Diego Principal Harp audition list.

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    • Calista Anne
      Calista Anne Koch

      The list is actually pretty endless (as far as harp parts go), but here is a problem I've encountered - the youth orchestra, where I have 2 students, is not able to play alot of the student harp repitoire like Night on Bald Mt. or even Carmen.  Any suggestions of student rep. that is also for student string and wind instrumentalists.



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    • Tacye
      Tacye Phillipson

      I found that pieces were never chosen on the playability of the harp part- if the other parts were playable the harp had to cope. My first season of County Youth Orchestra we immolated Brunhilda; while the harp section didn't quite collapse in flames it was a near thing...

      Other potentials are the Romeo and Juliet Overture and Brahms Requiem.

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    • Rosalind
      Rosalind Beck

      I agree that the playability of the harp part is often not considered when the youth orchestra/high school orchestra director chooses music.  However, when a student harpist is accepted into a youth orchestra, that can influence the selection of repertoire. Our local youth orchestra (including my 13-year-old student) will soon be performing the Danse Bacchanale from Samson et Dalila and Mars, Venus, and Jupiter from The Planets (with two student harpists playing).  Some other pieces have been the Sibelius Symphony No. 1 (programmed because the elder of my students could play it!), Shostakovich Symphony No. 5, L'Arlessienne Suite No. 2, and Capriccio Espagnol.

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    • Saul
      Saul Davis Zlatkovski

      Two good parts for technique building are Wagner's Prelude to die Meistersinger, and Tchaikovsky's Capriccio Italien and Romeo and Juliet Fantasy-Overture. Also, music from Lehar's the Merry Widow, Gluck's Orfeo, the Handel operas, Faure's Pelleas et Melisande.

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    • Patricia
      Patricia Jaeger

      Katie, over the years I have arranged over two dozen harp parts for orchestral  compositions that did not include a harp, so that my students in middle school and high school, usually on a lever harp, could have orchestra participation. Composers range from Leroy Anderson  through Handel, Holst, Mascagni, Tschaikowsky, and Wagner. You could e-mail me to see if I have specific parts; then I'd get them to you. These are unpublished and AHS has my list but I haven't seen it given out yet. I'd only want reimbursement for the copying and mailing.

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    • Karen
      Karen Biedrzycki

      Hi there,

      I am a string orchestra teacher blessed to have two wonderful harpists - one each in my middle and high school orchestras. I have a very difficult time finding music that is appropriate level (my high school orch is small at 19 players and mostly freshman/middle school level) that includes an actual harp part. Could you email me your list of harp parts?

      Here's my email: karen@sweetcello.com

      Thank you!

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    • Sharon
      Sharon Roznick


      Could you please send  your listing of harp parts that you have to my childrens Orchestra teacher at kbiedrzycki@stcroixprep.org?  We've had a difficult time finding parts for the middle school & high school level harpists.  Your assistance is greatly appreciated!  I could not find your email address on the AHS website.
      Thank you,
      Sharon Roznick (parent of 2 harp students)

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