"The main thing to tell you about Heidi is that she is simply a genius." - Leonard Bernstein, Nov. 1963
Heidi Lehwalder, harpist, has performed as guest artist with more than 65 orchestras throughout the United States and Canada, including the New York Philharmonic, The Cleveland Orchestra, the Atlanta Symphony, the Montreal Symphony, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, as well as with the symphonies of Phoenix, Buffalo, Louisville, Wichita, Savanna, Syracuse, and Honolulu. She has made 55 appearances as soloist with the Seattle Symphony, having given her debut with the orchestra at age nine. She has collaborated with conductors Leonard Bernstein, Claudio Abbado, Erich Leinsdorf, Arthur Fiedler, Gerard Schwarz, Lucas Foss, Andre Kostelanetz, Dennis Russell Davies, and Charles Dutoit. Her recent performances included a 10-city tour with The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and two performances at Alice Tully Hall in New York City.
When Lehwalder was 14 she was asked by the late George Szell to join the Cleveland Orchestra as second harpist to sit next to her teacher Alice Chalifoux. An esteemed chamber musician, Lehwalder has performed in numerous concerts with The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center from 1972 to the present. She has participated in the Mostly Mozart, Caramoor, Santa Fe, and Spoleto Festivals. Lehwalder is the only harpist ever to be invited to tour with Rudolf Serkin’s famed Music from Marlboro. During the summer of 1987, she served as Professor of Harp in Korea’s First International Chamber Music Festival. As a member of the Orpheus Trio, she toured for eight years throughout North America and Europe with flutist Paula Robison and violist Scott Nickrenz. She has also toured extensively with flutist Carol Wincenc.
Lehwalder is the inspiration for numerous harp concerti, both written for and dedicated to her, including Jose Serebrier’s Colores Magicos, Roberto Caamano’s Concerto for Harp, and Michael Colgrass’ Auras, as well as Sheila Silver’s From Darkness Emerging for harp and string quartet.
As a recording artist, Lehwalder has recorded for RCA, RCA Red Seal, CRI, Nonesuch, and Vanguard. Her collaborations include recordings with the Orpheus Trio, The Philadelphia Singers, Benedita Valente, Maureen Forrester, James Galway, Richard Stolzman, and the Tokyo String Quartet. She has appeared on national television on the Firestone Hour, Leonard Bernstein’s Young People’s Concerts, NBC’s Today Show, CBS Cable with The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and PBS, both in joint recital with the Annapolis Brass Quintet and during the 1998-99 season as part of The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s Star-Studded 30th Anniversary Gala.
Currently, Ms. Lehwalder is Founder and Artistic Director of a the concert series, Chamber On The Mountain, in Ojai, California. Lehwalder is the Founder and was the Artistic Director of the Fredericksburg Festival of the Arts, which was nationally broadcast for 20 years to an audience of 425,000 listeners on Classical WETA 90.9 FM in Washington, DC. She also has served as Artistic Director of Belle Arte Concerts in Seattle and as Artistic Administrator of the Seattle International Music Festival. Lehwalder was Professor of Harp at the College of William and Mary and the University of Virginia from 2003 to 2006. From 2007 to 2011 Lehwalder served as Professor of Harp at The School of Music at the University of Washington. While teaching there, she created an enormously popular chamber music course which incorporated coaching all instrumentalists, culminating in three performances open to the public each year. She has given numerous master classes throughout the United States including The Juilliard School of Music, The Curtis Institute of Music, The Manhattan School of Music, The Eastman School of Music, and Boston University.
Lehwalder is the recipient of a Ford Foundation Grant, a Rockefeller Foundation Grant, and has the distinction of being the first recipient of the prestigious Avery Fisher Prize (later to become the Avery Fisher Career Grant).
Heidi Lehwalder was the last student of master harpist Carlos Salzedo who passed away the day before what would have been her last lesson. They worked intensely together for two summers when she was 10 and 11 as he prepared her for the Second International Harp Competition in Tel Aviv, Israel where she won a major prize.
Ms. Lehwalder is located in Seattle, Washington, where she continues to expand her teaching throughout the United States and abroad. In July 2014, Heidi was invited to give a masterclass at the 12th World Harp Congress in Sydney, Australia. She returned in January 2015 for further teaching and masterclasses. Heidi also looks forward to collaborating with young harpists and other instrumentalists teaching them the fine art of chamber music.