Meet YAHS founders Kimberly Rowe and Susan Bennett Brady

YAHS Artist Faculty Susan Bennett Brady and Kimberly Rowe met as teenagers at a summer music program. They founded YAHS in 2002.

What’s your favorite memory from a YAHS summer?

Susan: I love seeing all the returning students come back with an entirely different set of skills. It’s great to build long term relationships with the YAHS alumni. I enjoy hanging out with them and helping them follow their dreams.

What’s the number one thing you want students to learn from you?

Kim: I’d love my students to learn how to practice correctly for long-term success. It’s all about slow, careful practice.

Tell us a little bit about your harp history.

“I am head over heels in love with my one-year-old granddaughter, Clara,” says Susan, pictured with daughters Emmy (center) and Morgan.

Susan: I began harp at the age of 16 and knew I wanted to be a harpist at my first lesson. I knew I was a late starter so I practiced like crazy to get into the Curtis Institute of Music for college. After Curtis I moved to Atlanta and have built a great life here as a professional harpist, performer and teacher.

Kim: I also began playing at 16. I know what it’s like coming from a piano background and wanting to play pieces that you technically aren’t ready for yet. That’s why practicing correctly is so important, especially if you start late.

What challenges have you had to overcome as a harpist?

Kim: My hands are not at all suited for the harp. I have terrible double jointed thumbs, and my teachers have never known what to do with me! It’s all about working with what you have….

What is the best piece of technical advice you can give a student?

Susan: Slow practice. It works!

Do you have any career highlights?

“I love to travel,” says Kim, with her husband, Hugh, during a recent trip to Slovenia.

Kim: Last year I had the opportunity to play Mahler 3 with the orchestra in Brno, Czech Republic, where I’ve spent the last three years living. Most people think of Mahler as a German composer, but he was actually born not far from Brno. It was incredible playing his music with a European orchestra who brought a different layer of understanding to his music.

What’s your favorite solo piece to play?

Susan: Faure “Impromptu” but I’d also have to add Britten’s “A Ceremony of Carols,” even though it’s not really a solo.

What’s one thing you have yet to knock off your harp to-do list?

Kim: The Grandjany “Rhapsodie.”
Susan: Jazz harp.

What non-harp hobbies/sports/activities do you do?

Kim: When I moved overseas I joined a knitting club to meet people. It sounds really boring and old-fashioned but it’s fun! Also I love to travel and every year my husband and I spend two weeks on a canal boat in France. Great food!

What are you most looking forward to about this summer?

Susan: Our new locations! Kenyon College is going to be great. While the seminar itself will remain virtually the same, it will be fun to be somewhere different.