The harp students at the Butler School are a dedicated, supportive and tightly knit group of colleagues. They enjoy performing together in a variety of venues and ensembles, and the annual pizza/string changing party! We are comprised of around eight undergraduate and graduate students from various schools on campus, forming an eclectic group of harpists with several backgrounds and professional goals.
Harp students at the Butler School receive a lot of personalized attention. As a teacher, I believe in helping each student find their individual musical ‘voice’ and in helping them to learn the skills they need to be their own teachers once they finish their degree. We work together to create a customized program that capitalizes on each person’s strengths while they continue grow in other musical and technical areas.
The Butler School and Austin community provide a wealth of performing opportunities for harp students. The Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Gerhardt Zimmerman will be the orchestra for the upcoming Menuhin Competition in March 2014, and the Wind Ensemble, with Jerry Junkin as director, has a China tour planned for May 2014. We are also home to the prestigious Butler Opera Center and award-winning New Music Ensemble. The UT Harp Ensemble has recently premiered works from European composer and arranger Willi Huber Maerz, and continues to have many high-profile performances on campus and throughout the Austin community.
This year’s Visiting Artist performer and master class teacher in April 2014 will be Elizabeth Hainen. Former year’s Visiting Artist Performers and master class teachers include: Maria Luisa Rayan-Forero, Felice Pomeranz, Yolanda Kondonassis, Sivan Magen, Julie Ann Smith, Emily Mitchell, David Williams, Susan Dedrich Pejovich and Elizabeth Richter.
Recent graduates of the Butler School harp studio include Megan Metheney-Lauzet, director of L’Academie Musique Internationale in Cabris, France; Dr. Jacquelyn Venter, founding member of the American Harp Quartet and free-lance harpist in Sacramento, CA; Meredith McCay, co-founder of the group Seven Pedals and Development Officer for the Austin Chamber Music Center and St. Louis Symphony; and Mollie Alred, Artist Representative with Sciolino Artist Management. Current student Emily Melendes serves as the harpist with the Breckenridge Festival, and is on the substitute list for the New World Symphony. Vincent Pierce toured China with the band The Noise Revival Orchestra in 2012, and now is part of Les Rav, with whom he was an official South by Southwest performer in 2013. Linnae Kraemer is the harp instructor with the University of Texas String Project, one of the oldest and most established string pedagogy programs in the nation, under the direction of Dr. Laurie Scott.
Many of the Butler School’s current, and former harp students are successful national competitors in the American Harp Society National Competitions, Anne Adams Awards, and Lyon & Healy Awards. Harp students at the University of Texas Butler School have ample opportunities to explore performing in a variety of settings–choral, orchestral, opera, and chamber music–all the while expanding their solo repertoire and pedagogical knowledge. Today’s Butler School harp graduates are prepared to create a living in music as a free-lance performer/arranger, teacher, and orchestral/opera musicians. This combination of a variety of performing experience and a University degree from a nationally respected school opens many doors.
Delaine Leonard Fedson
Professor of Harp