Forest music: Monteux school welcomes harpists to woodland campus

HANCOCK The Maine Coast Harp Institute, inspired by Camden’s former Salzedo Harp Colony that ran for decades starting in 1929, has found a seasonal home at the Monteux School and Music Festival.

The institute is holding its inaugural, week-long session for harpists and educators Aug. 3-13. The session will include a public concert featuring its founder and Grammy-nominated harpist Yolanda Kondonassis and prize-winning harpist Juan Riveros at 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 12, in the Monteux Forest Studio.

Like the young musicians who flock annually to the Monteux School, Kondonassis attended the late acclaimed harpist Carlos Salzedo’s summer program in Camden for many summers during her youth. She currently heads the harp department at the Cleveland Institute of Music and teaches master classes around the world. Making her debut at age 18, with the New York Philharmonic and Zubin Mehta, Kondonassis has performed as a soloist with major orchestras in the United States and abroad including The Cleveland Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra and Hong Kong Philharmonic, to name a few. She was nominated for a 2020 Grammy Award for Best Classical Instrumental Solo for her live, world premiere recording of Jennifer Higdon’s Harp Concerto (written for Kondonassis) with New York’s Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (Azica, 2019).

“Perhaps you can’t go home again, but you can try, and the opportunity of creating a space similar to the one I had as a young harpist to learn, grow, reflect, and formulate my artistic voice was too good to pass up,” Kondonassis said. “There is something so special about the Maine setting that inspires all this in such a unique and indelible way — it just had to be here.”

Kondonassis credits Philip Devenish, the Monteux School board president and co-founder, for making her vision become a reality.

“I am truly grateful for his support and guidance through the process of beginning this labor-of-love endeavor,” she said.

The Aug. 12 concert will feature harp repertoire favorites and colorful music of Latin and South America. Tickets cost $20 per person. To reserve seats, visit The Monteux Forest Studio is located at 42 Melody Lane in Hancock.

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