Guest Artist Program2018-11-13T14:32:20+00:00

Guest Artist Program

The YAHS Guest Artist Program gives students an opportunity to interact one-on-one with today's top artists in lessons, masterclasses, and informal talks and mentorship experiences. Guest Artists often reside on campus and participate in meals and many other daily activities. Masterclass and concerts are open to the public.

Sivan Magen

YAHS 2019 Guest Artist

We are excited to introduce our 2019 guest artist, Sivan Magen. Praised as a “harpist of extraordinary range” whose “brilliant sound and remarkable technical acumen shatter any stereotype of his instrument” (the NY Times), Sivan Magen is the only Israeli to have ever won the International Harp Contest in Israel, a winner of the Pro Musicis International Award and in 2012 was chosen by a committee headed by Dame Mitsuko Uchida as the winner of the Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award. He appeared as a recitalist and as a soloist with orchestras across the US, South America, Europe and Israel, in venues such as Carnegie Hall, Wigmore Hall, the Sydney Opera House and the Vienna Konzerthaus, and with orchestras such as the Israel Philharmonic, the Strasbourg Philharmonic, the Saint-Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the Sydney Symphony and the Vienna Chamber Orchestra.

An avid chamber musician, Magen has performed at the Marlboro, Aspen, Kuhmo, Delft, and Jerusalem International Chamber Music festivals, with Musicians from Marlboro, and collaborated with artists such as Nobuko Imai, Shmuel Ashkenazi, Gary Hoffman, Emmanuel Pahud, Susanna Phillips, the Danel, Calder and Dover quartets and members of the Guarneri and Juilliard Quartets. He is a founding member of the award winning Israeli Chamber Project and of Trio Tre Voci with flautist Marina Piccinini and violist Kim Kashkashian.

In addition to two solo albums for Linn records, Magen has released acclaimed recordings for Avie, Azica, Koch International, ECM, and with Musicians for Marlboro. In Spring 2017 he was a visiting Professor at the Paris Conservatory, and since September 2017 he has been the principal harpist of the Finnish Radio Symphony.

Previous YAHS Guest Artists

Nancy Allen
Nancy Allen2018 Guest Artist
Nancy holds prestigious positions as principal harpist with the New York Philharmonic and harp instructor at Juilliard and the Aspen Music Festival. She also appears regularly with The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra.

Nancy Allen is a celebrated recording artist. Her recording of Ravel’s Introduction & Allegro with the Tokyo String Quartet, Ransom Wilson, and clarinetist David Shifrin was nominated for a Grammy award. Her other recordings can be found on labels such as Sony Classical, Deutsche Grammophon, and CRI, covering a variety of music from Bach to Ives to Takemitsu.

In 1973, Nancy Allen won the Fifth International Harp Contest in Israel. She made her New York recital debut in 1975, and her early career included touring with flutist Ransom Wilson. She has also worked closely with Kathleen Battle, Richard Stoltzman, Manuel Barrueco, and Carol Wincenc on recital projects.

As a teacher, Nancy Allen has coached some of the world’s leading young talent, including YAHS alumni and USAIHC first prize winner Katherine Siochi, and YAHS faculty member Emily Levin. A teacher for over 20 years, her students hold positions in prominent orchestras around the world. Nancy’s own teachers include the renowned Pearl Chertok, Lily Laskine, and Marcel Grandjany.

Bridget Kibbey
Bridget Kibbey2008-09, 2017 Guest Artist
Lauded for her compelling artistry and virtuosity, harpist Bridget Kibbey is gaining a reputation for showcasing the broad range of her instrument through multiple-genre performances — drawing diverse audiences through new collaborations and platforms.Bridget is a recipient of the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant, the Classical Recording Foundation’s Young Artist Award, a 2015 Salon de Virtuosi Grant, and the only harpist to win a position with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s Chamber Music Society II, a winner of Concert Artist Guild’s International Competition, Astral Artist Auditions, and Premiere Prix at the Journées de les Harpes Competition in Arles, France. She tours internationally as concerto soloist, recitalist, and collaborator with some of today’s most compelling artists.

Bridget is featured annually with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, is a principal artist with Camerata Pacifica in California, and has appeared as featured soloist and chamber artist at the Bravo!Vail, Chamber Music Northwest, Bridgehampton, Aspen, Bay Chamber Festivals, Pelotas, Savannah Music Festival, among others.

With a passion for commissioning new repertoire for the harp, Bridget recently spear-headed a five orchestra concerto-commissioning consortium with Juno-Award winning composer Vivian Fung. Bridget performed five world-premiere performances with The Karlsruhe Badische Symphoniker (Germany), The Phillips Camerata in Washington, DC, The Alabama Symphony, The San José Chamber Orchestra, and the Metropolis Ensemble. Read more on Bridget’s website at

Judy Loman
Judy Loman2016 Guest Artist
Back by popular demand to celebrate the 15th season of YAHS, Judy Loman joins us as our 2016 Guest Artist. Judy was also Guest Artist for the 2012 and 2013 seasons. Recognized as one of the world’s foremost harp virtuosos, Judy Loman graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music, where she studied with the celebrated harpist Carlos Salzedo. She served as Principal Harpist with the Toronto Symphony from 1960 to 2002. As a soloist, she has won the admiration of audiences and critics alike across Canada, the United States, Europe, and Japan. She is a recipient of Canada’s Juno Award for best classical recording and the Canada Council’s Grand Prix du disque Canadien. She was recently awarded the Order of Canada, a prestigious honor given by the government of Canada to Canadians who have been influential in their  fields. Judy Loman has been a featured recitalist at several American Harp Society Conferences and for the World Harp Congress, where she performed the opening recital at the 2011 event in Vancouver. A dedicated teacher, Judy Loman is Adjunct Professor of harp at the University of Toronto and instructor of harp at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. She gives masterclasses worldwide and has adjudicated at both the International Harp Contest in Israel and the USA International Harp Contest.
Yolanda Kondonassis
Yolanda Kondonassis2015 Guest Artist
Yolanda Kondonassis is celebrated as one of the world’s premier solo harpists and is widely regarded as today’s most recorded classical harpist. Hailed as “a brilliant and expressive player” (Dallas Morning News), she has performed around the globe as a concerto soloist and in recital, appearing with numerous major orchestras such as The New York Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, and Hong Kong Philharmonic, to name a few. Also a published author, speaker, professor of harp, and environmental activist, she weaves her many passions into a vibrant and multi-faceted career. With hundreds of thousands of albums sold worldwide, Kondonassis’ extensive discography includes nineteen titles and her 2008 release, Air (Telarc), was nominated for a Grammy Award. Her many albums have earned universal critical praise as she continues to be a pioneering force in the harp world, striving to make her instrument more accessible to audiences and to push the boundaries of what listeners expect of the harp. The recipient of two Solo Recitalists Grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and a 2011 recipient of the Cleveland Arts Prize, Kondonassis has been featured on CNN and PBS as well as Sirius/XM Radio’s Symphony Hall, NPR’s All Things Considered and Tiny Desk Concerts, St. Paul Sunday Morning, and Performance Today. In addition to her active solo, chamber music and recording schedule, Kondonassis heads the harp departments at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and The Cleveland Institute of Music, and presents master classes around the world.· For more information on Yolanda Kondonassis, visit
Skaila Kanga
Skaila Kanga2014 Guest Artist
As the number one studio harpist in London, Skaila Kanga has performed on over 500 film soundtracks, including Shrek, the James Bond films, and many others. Skaila is also renowned for her long extensive career in both classical and pop records, television and her amazing list of over 500 film soundtrack credits. She has recorded many albums over the years with artists like Elton John, Paul McCartney, Sting, Robbie Williams, James Galway, Joni Mitchell, Michel Legrand, Henry Mancini, John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith, Pat Metheny, Frank Sinatra, Joan Sutherland, Pavarotti, Katherine Jenkins and many more. For 25 years Skaila was the solo harpist with the Nash Ensemble and also has been the Principal Harp of the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields since 1971. In 2003, Skaila, who was Head of Harp at the Royal Academy of Music from 1999–2010, was awarded Professorship of the University of London. She is regularly invited to sit on juries of international harp competitions and has given lecture-recitals and masterclasses in Russia, throughout Europe, Hong Kong and across America. Skaila has taught regularly as a guest professor at the Amsterdam Conservatory since 2008. In 2006 she co-founded the summer International Harp Academy ‘HarpMasters’ in Switzerland with Milda Agazarian. Skaila was appointed the distinguished title of Professor Emerita of Harp at the Royal Academy of Music in 2010.
Maria Luisa Rayan
Maria Luisa Rayan2011 Guest Artist
nternationally renowned harpist María Luisa Rayan-Forero has performed to critical acclaim in the USA, Europe, Latin America, China and Japan. Described by the New York Concert Review as “Clearly an extremely talented, accomplished, experienced performer who can keep an audience listening with rapt attention,” Ms. Rayan-Forero has been performing all over the globe for the past 20 years, bringing to audiences a sense of musicianship and poetry in her playing. A consistent prizewinner at competitions internationally, Ms. Rayan-Forero was awarded the Silver Medal at the USA International Harp Competition in 1998 and 2001. Her long list of national and international distinctions include first prize in the Young Professional Division at the 13th American Harp Society Conference and the Anne Adams Scholarship Awards, as well as awards from the WAMSO Competition in Minneapolis and the Ima Hogg Competition in Houston. Her publications include arrangements for solo harp of Cuatro Estaciones Porteñas, Serie del Angel and Libertango by Astor Piazzolla, Partitas BWV 825-827 by J.S. Bach and Sonata in F K332 by W.A. Mozart. Read more about Maria Luisa Rayan-Forero at
Julie Ann Smith
Julie Ann Smith2010 Guest Artist
Principal Harpist of the San Diego Symphony, Julie Ann Smith has established herself as one of the most prominent young harpists today, performing as both an orchestral musician and concert artist. Gaining international recognition for her charismatic performing style and diverse repertoire, Ms. Smith was the Silver medalist winner in the 2004 USA International Harp Competition and Bronze medalist in 2001. She made her National Symphony Orchestra debut in 2003 and has been honored in numerous competitions throughout the country. Her other honors include grand prizes in the Corpus Christi International Young Artist Competition and the Midland/Odessa National Young Artist Competition, both open to all instrumentalists. She has been the opening recitalist for the American Harp Society, along with the USA International Harp Competition. Read more about her at

YAHS Special Guests

Lynn Williams

Marguerite Lynn Williams

Principal Harp, Lyric Opera of Chicago

“I’m excited to work with the younger harp generation who are brimming with energy and creativity!” Principal Harpist of the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Marguerite Lynn Williams has performed extensively throughout the United States, Europe and Asia as soloist, chamber musician and with some of the World’s greatest Orchestras.  She is the Principal Harpist of the Chicago Philharmonic and Ars Viva Symphony, a founding member of International Chamber Artists, Lyrica Trio and the Chicago Harp Quartet.  Ms. Williams has won numerous National awards including the American Harp Society’s National competition in 1996 and 2009, the Anne Adams Award in 1997 and 1998, Young Arts Foundation, National Federation of Music Clubs, American Opera Society, and Sigma Alpha Iota.   She has appeared as a featured performer and lecturer at American Harp Society conventions and at the World Harp Congress in Vancouver as well as served as judge for both the American Harp Society and Young Artist’s Harp Competitions.  Ms. Williams founded the Chicago Harp Ensemble in 2010, and has been the Director for 5 successful seasons.  She is Head of the Harp Department at Roosevelt University, on faculty at Trinity International University and has a large private studio.  Along with being a passionate pedagogue, she is an avid arranger of harp music especially for harp ensemble.  Read more about her at

Katie Buckley

Principal Harp, Iceland Symphony Orchestra

“I look forward to hearing what the next generation of talented harpists has to offer in such a beautiful setting.” Contemporary music enthusiast Katie Buckley is Principal Harpist with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra. She is a founding member of Duo Harpverk with percussionist Frank Aarnink. To date, Duo Harpverk has premiered 120 pieces and have released two studio albums. They premiered the concerto ‘Poltroons in Paradise’ by Stewart Copeland in June, 2015 with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra. Katie often records as a part of the Bedroom Community music label and has been featured on numerous pop albums and movie soundtracks. Katie performs as a soloist and chamber musician throughout Iceland, Europe, and the United States.