German harpist Florence Sitruk is the new harp professor at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. She replaces distinguished professor of harp, Susann McDonald, who taught at the school for decades.
“Florence has built an international profile as one of the world’s finest harpists and pedagogues” said Jacobs School of Music dean Gwyn Richards in a press release. “She champions contemporary repertoire for the instrument, seeks new repertoire wherever it can be found and looks for collaborative opportunities at every turn.”
Born to French-German parents, Sitruk took her first harp lesson at age 6, with early studies at Stuttgart Music University and in Paris with Marielle Nordmann. Sitruk earned her artist diploma from the Jacobs School of Music, studying with Susann McDonald, whom she calls decisive for her musical development, as well as with pianist György Sebök, who predicted she would become “one of the finest artists in her field.”
Sitruk, who begins her appointment on Aug. 1, said in a press release, “When a miracle becomes reality, it feels like life is speaking mother tongue, like returning home: such is my gratitude and joy to be appointed to the faculty of the legendary Jacobs School of Music. I am looking forward tremendously to my aspiring students and the finest musical colleagues one could wish for. The creative spirit and music resonating in these walls are the highest inspiration for me, and I am grateful to contribute to their continuity.”
“I am delighted to welcome Florence Sitruk to the Harp Department faculty at the Jacobs School,” said Elzbieta Szmyt, chair of the harp department at Indiana. “I have known Florence for many years, and she is a leading force in the harp world. A graduate of Jacobs herself, not only is she a phenomenal harpist, she is a truly inspiring harp pedagogue.”
Winning first prize at the Rome International Harp Competition “Bucchi” for Music of the 20th Century led to Sitruk’s debut at the Berlin Philharmonic Hall with the Deutsche Symphonie-Orchester Berlin. As an invited soloist, she plays regularly with leading orchestras such as the Lucerne Festival Strings, Lithuanian Philharmonic and Chamber Orchestra, Southwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Deutsche Symphonie-Orchester Berlin and has toured countries such as Estonia, Morocco, Australia, and Asia.
Sitruk was appointed guest professor at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre at age 26 and at the Academy of Music in Kraków, Poland, in 2014. Professor of harp at Geneva University of Music since 2005, she has long been the youngest professor in her field. She was artistic director of the Swiss chamber music festival Les Muséiques and founder of the Elias Parish Alvars Harp Festival in the virtuoso’s birth town of Teignmouth, England. The Israel International Harp Contest appointed her artistic director for its 2015 competition.