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YAHS is excited to welcome alumni Katherine Siochi to our 2018 program as a special guest! Join us on July 6 to hear Katherine in a concert open to the public.

“I went to YAHS for four summers, and they were some of the best times of my childhood,” says YAHS alum Katherine Siochi.

Can you tell us a little about your harp history?

I started playing the harp when I was 9-and-a-half, after having played the piano for a few years. I didn’t even choose the instrument—my mom had a friend whose daughter was playing the harp, and she highly recommended the teacher. So I took a lesson just for fun to see if I liked it, and everything about the harp really clicked! My piano background really helped me catch on quickly. In 2011 I went to Juilliard and studied with Nancy Allen for my undergraduate and graduate degrees. During grad school I was American Harp Society’s concert artist, and I gave a crazy number of solo recitals across the US! Last fall, I moved to Florida to start playing in the Sarasota Orchestra.

What has been your biggest career highlight?

One of my favorite moments was playing the Ginastera Concerto in the final round of the USA International Harp Competition. It was really one of the most thrilling and electrifying performances of my life!

“The mock auditions and focus on orchestral repertoire at YAHS have also benefited me immensely,” says Katherine, who recently became principal harp with the Sarasota Orchestra.

What is your favorite piece to play?

One piece that I never get tired of playing is my transcription of Chopin’s Nocturne Op. 9 No. 1. Its melancholic, longing quality combined with the haunting beauty of the melody makes it so simple yet emotionally complex. I play it in almost all of my concerts.

What is your favorite YAHS memory?

I don’t have a favorite specific memory, but I just really enjoyed getting to know the other students and becoming friends with them. Being at YAHS was the first time I had ever been around so many other people my age who shared my passion for the harp. We had tons of fun and shared LOTS of laughter. Many of us are still close friends!!

Can you tell us how your experience as a student at YAHS has influenced your career?

YAHS has helped me in many different areas of my career. The first time I performed in front of an audience of harpists was at YAHS when I was 12 years old. It was really disorienting and scary for me, because harpists are the most difficult people to play for, as a harpist! Since then, I have given more solo performances than I can count, whether at competitions, in school, or during my time as AHS Concert Artist. Growing comfortable in solo performance situations definitely all started with YAHS. The mock auditions and focus on orchestral repertoire at YAHS have also benefited me immensely throughout my time in school, at summer music festivals, and in orchestra auditions. In general, my time at YAHS gave me very valuable outside perspectives on my playing that made me think more critically about my practicing and performing.

Katherine and her mother, Ann, following a performance.

What are you most looking forward to at YAHS this summer?

I’m just really excited to be back after so many years and see things from a different perspective—I went to YAHS for 4 summers and they were some of the best times of my childhood. I can’t wait to see other students experiencing the same life-changing moments and opportunities.