Miriam Overlach was recently appointed harp professor at the Royal Conservatoire of Antwerp. Based in Amsterdam, Overlach began teaching in Antwerp in September, joining Eline Groslot in the conservatory’s harp department.
When asked about her teaching philosophy, Overlach says, “My vision derives of course from my own praxis as a harpist. I see myself deeply rooted in the classical tradition of playing: concerned about a high standard for technique, good sound, detailed score reading and performance practice, knowledge of the common repertoire of solo, chamber, and orchestral music. Building on this, I have always been interested in the newest developments in composition, music, performance, and art. I very much enjoy working with composers, getting to know their worlds of thinking, and enlarging the possibilities of our instrument.” Her goals for her students, however, are adaptable. “Of course, if you want to study with me, it is not necessary that you aim for the same path! I want to give my students the basics in playing and knowledge, and the imagination to find their own way, whether that is in an orchestra or opera, as a soloist or chamber musician, freelancing in any genre, as a musical entrepreneur, and so on. As a career in music nowadays is more and more diverse, it is necessary to explore all kinds of possibilities.”
Overlach’s career is indeed diverse. She is co–founder of Ensemble Lumaka, a chamber ensemble made up of harp, flute, and string trio. The group has won several prizes, including first prize at the International Chamber Music Competition in Almere and the ‘Het Debuut’ prize in 2009 for best young Dutch ensemble. As a soloist, she won first prize in the Concours international de harpe Martine Géliot and soloist prizes at the Concertgebouw and Dutch harp competitions. She also regularly appears with the Concertgebouw Orchestra, Ensemble Modern Frankfurt, and the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra. Overlach graduated from the Amsterdam Conservatory, where she studied with Erika Waardenburg.