With 25 majors, the Jacobs School's Harp Department is the largest in the world.
The department has a sizeable contingent of international students, who represent the finest playing from many countries. In addition to majors, there are many non-majors studying harp and a large pre-college program, so that graduate students have ample opportunity for teaching experience.
The department offers students a comprehensive education in harp, including solo playing, ensemble playing, orchestral repertoire, opera, band, ballet, harp ensembles, and new music performances, as well as a strong emphasis on harp pedagogy. The program prepares each student for all aspects of a career as a professional harpist.
In addition to their private lessons, students attend a weekly harp master class as well as a class in orchestral repertoire performance. The department sponsors a harp concerto competition every other year, and the winner plays a solo with one of the School of Music orchestras.
Among the program's students and graduates are winners of numerous international prizes, including the French International Harp Contest, the Japanese International Harp Contest, the American Harp Society's National first prize, and the USA International Harp Competition, which is held at Indiana University every three years and draws most members of the international harp community to Bloomington.
Graduates of the IU harp program hold key performing and teaching positions in the United States and abroad. Elizabeth Hainen, for example, who earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from IU, is principal harpist with the Philadelphia Orchestra and a music faculty member at the Curtis Institute. She has returned to IU for master classes with students.
Harp Department Information
Harp majors receive one private lesson a week with Prof.McDonald, and attend a weekly performance class conducted by Prof. McDonald. In addition there is a weekly orchestra repertoire class. Weekly harp ensemble classes are conducted by Prof. Szmyt. There are classes as well in harp pedagogy, and harp technology. Chamber music coaching is also available with Prof. McDonald, and classes in harp literature.
Each harp major is required to perform in two ensemble concerts a semester. There are also numerous opportunities for ad hoc ensemble appearances. Performance experience is available also in the IU New Music Ensemble, as well as in traditional orchestral and band ensembles. Students also receive experience in opera and ballet performance. There are three recital halls where degree harp recitals are held. Every other year there is a concerto competition. The winner performs with one of the symphonic orchestras in the Musical Arts Center.
Indiana University is also the home of the USA International Harp Competition, held on our campus every three year .
The university owns more than 19 concert harps for student use in designated harp practice studios.