Guest harpist voices create impressions in orchestras allFrench program

first_imgIf you want to experience lovely atmospheric music that might remind you of the sea, drifting clouds and rolling hillsides, then you should consider the Vancouver Symphony’s concert this weekend.The orchestra has lined up an all-French program featuring works of Gabriel Piern?, Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel. Gracing the stage will be guest harpist Valerie Muzzolini Gordon and the women of the Vancouver USA Singers. They will appear in separate pieces, all of which will be conducted by music director Salvador Brotons.Playing French music is second nature to Muzzolini Gordon, who is a native of Nice, where her mother played in the Nice Symphony. As a 4-year-old, Muzzolini Gordon got to touch the harp strings of the orchestra’s principal harpist and it left an indelible impression. So at the age of 7, she eagerly signed up for harp lessons at the local conservatory’s after-school program.“I started playing a Celtic harp, which is smaller than a concert harp,” recalled Muzzolini Gordon. “It has levers instead of pedals. In order to change the pitch of the string, you have to push the lever up and down. I was on that for a year or two, and then my teacher moved me to a pedal harp that was smaller and has fewer strings than a standard concert harp.”A few years later, Muzzolini Gordon moved up to the concert harp, which has 47 strings and uses seven pedals to change notes to sharps and flats.last_img