Leading up to the 13th World Harp Congress this July in Hong Kong, we’re talking with performers for the ever-popular WHC Focus on Youth showcase concerts. Check in each week as we present insights from these talented young artists.

Give us some background: when did you start playing, what’s your current age, and who do you study with?

“As long as you are doing your best, you will have no regrets,” says Renée Murphy.

I started playing harp when I was 7 years old. I am currently 15 years old, and I study with Professor Elżbieta Szmyt at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music Pre-College Harp Program.

Tell us about your WHC program. How did you choose your repertoire and what do you like about the music?

I will be playing Franz Anton Rosetti’s Sonata No. 6, two movements from Birds in Winter by Michael Mauldin, and La Danse des Sylphes by Félix Godefroid. These are a few of my favorite pieces—I love how each piece has such a different, unique style.

Have you ever attended a World Harp Congress?

No, I have never attended a World Harp Congress. This will be my first one!

What is the first thing you’re going to do when you get to Hong Kong?

When I get to Hong Kong, the first thing I want to do is taste Hong Kong’s food. I love experiencing diverse cultures and tasting their distinctive types of foods.

Which harpist do you most admire, and why?

I most admire Ms. Susann McDonald. She is such an inspiring individual who has dedicated so much of her life to the harp and has contributed so much to the harp world. She is truly an amazing person. I feel personally close to her because she and I have lived in the same town all my life.

Which harpist are you most looking forward to meeting in person at the WHC?

I most look forward to meeting Katherine Siochi in person at the WHC. During the USA International Harp Competition last summer, I listened to her performances in all four stages, and I am very excited to hear her play in Hong Kong.

What’s the most memorable musical performance you’ve ever attended?

Last summer, the USA International Harp Competition held a celebratory gala honoring Ms. Susann McDonald. It included inspiring performances by her students and speeches by her friends and colleagues. It was something which I truly will never forget!

What’s your most memorable performing experience?

When I was 10 years old, I performed Vivaldi’s Concerto in D Major with a string quartet. It was my first concerto performance, and it always will be a special memory for me.

What advice would you give a young student wanting to start harp?

Go for it!! The harp is a great instrument, and I hope that many boys and girls will choose it as their instrument.

What’s the best piece of advice someone has ever given you?

My parents always tell me and my siblings that whatever we do, do it with all our might. As long as you are doing your best, you will have no regrets.

When you’re not playing the harp what do you like to do?

When I’m not playing the harp, I enjoy reading, going to the library, baking, cooking, doing crafts with my sisters, photography, and listening to music.

What’s on your playlist?

I enjoy listening to the Berlin Philharmonic’s many symphony recordings and harp recordings from numerous harpists.

Finish this sentence: In 10 years I see myself…

In 10 years I see myself perhaps as an orchestral harpist, a performer, or a teacher. I especially enjoy performing.

Anything else you want Harp Column readers to know about you?

I am the second oldest of six children, and I am a homeschooled ninth grader. Both of my parents are musicians, and my siblings and I have traveled to many places with them. We have two dogs, Bella and Gabby, and a sweet little hamster.

To learn more about the World Harp Congress visit www.worldharpcongress.org.
To register for the 13th World Harp Congress July 7–13 2017 in Hong Kong, visit www.whc2017.org.

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The Harp Column Staff has been bringing you great editorial content, interviews, features, and reviews since 1993!

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