BENEFITING: Chicago Harp Quartet
It’s not every day that the Cuban Ministry of Culture invites a small American classical music ensemble to serve as artistic ambassadors for a weeklong residency in Havana. With help from Cuban harpist Anabel Gutierrez, the Chicago Harp Quartet (CHQ) got that call and didn’t think twice about accepting.
In Cuba, a country of 11 million people that has exactly one harp teacher and only four harps, this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the Chicago- based ensemble. To make a Cuban harp residency possible, this fundraiser will enable the CHQ to bring sorely needed supplies, music, and instruments to Cuba.
Lyon & Healy has generously offered to match, dollar-for-dollar, all support for the purchase of four harps the CHQ plans to bring and donate to Cuba.
“We are honored and thrilled for this opportunity,” said the CHQ’s Marguerite (Lynn) Williams. “Our goal is to make a lasting impact on the Cuban students and jumpstart their harp community.”
“Lyon & Healy Harps is pleased to support the Chicago Harp Quartet’s Cuban residency to serve as ambassadors for the harp and classical music,” noted Janet Harrell, CEO of Lyon & Healy Harps. “We hope others will support their dedication and efforts... to further their goal to increase the Cuban public’s awareness, education and enjoyment of music.”
Facilitated by a serendipitous meeting between the Chicago Harp Quartet and the young Cuban harpist, Anabel Gutierrez during her studies at Indiana University, the CHQ’s residency in Havana from May 29-June 4 will entail:
- Teaching a master class,
- Leading an educational workshop on creating a unique career path with an unusual ensemble
- Performing a four-harp concerto with the Cuban National Youth Orchestra
- Performing a full-length public concert.
What is the current state of Harp Education and Performance in Cuba?
There are very limited resources to play, practice, and learn harp in Cuba. Our connection to Cuba - Annabel Gutierrez - is studying at Indiana University that we met during our residency there.
There is a harp instructor, Mirtha Batista, in all of Cuba, and the number of functional harps is minimal. There are only 4 pedal harps in the entire country, and they are in dire disrepair. The Cuban government is (partially) sponsoring Annabel's education at IU to aid in her ability to come back to Cuba and enrich the culture with more harp knowledge, history and educational abilities.
It is our hope, that with your generous support, we will be able to help bolster the harp education resources at the Cuban Music Institute and throughout Cuba for generations to come.
Since its formation in 2012, the Chicago Harp Quartet (Marguerite Lynn Williams, Julie Spring, Catherine Litaker, and Emily Ann Granger) has established itself as the leading harp ensemble in the United States. Widely regarded as a Chicago treasure, the Quartet has dedicated itself to presenting innovative, charismatic and forward-thinking programs that include original transcriptions as well as new commissions from composers across the globe.
The quartet has performed at major concert venues across the U.S. including Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and the Curtis Institute of Music. As part of its mission, the CHQ collaborates with other cutting edge artists including Third Coast Percussion, Mozawa, and Ho Etsu Taiko, and continues its educational endeavors as instructors for the Chicago Harp Ensemble, as well as educational residencies at institutions including Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, New York University and Play On Philly.
Visit http://chicagoharpquartet.com for more information.