10 things you don’t know about Julie Smith

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1 What was the moment you knew you wanted to become a harpist?
It came in phases for me, but I first knew I wanted to play the harp when I was 9 years old. I went to a symphony concert in my hometown and saw a harp for the first time. I was in awe of the harp and was captivated by its beauty—even from the balcony! I then immediately started begging my parents for an instrument to play! After that, I remember dreaming about being a professional harpist, and specifically an orchestral harpist, when I went for my piano lessons. While waiting for my lessons, I would often flip through a children’s book about a professional orchestra; in the book, it showcased the various musicians getting dressed and ready for the concert in this generic big city (maybe something like Boston or Chicago), including the beautiful, (cartoonish, mind you!) harpist. It seemed so glamorous to me and I knew that I wanted to have that kind of job someday! The rest, it seems, is history.

2 What’s your absolute favorite piece to play on the harp and why?
It changes all the time, but I always love to play Bach on the harp. The colors and voicings are so beautiful and the melodies are so expressive.

3 Complete this sentence: If I weren’t a harpist, I’d be a…
Certified Financial Planner—I love helping people plan for an amazing future!

4 Favorite food:
Living in Southern California, I really can’t get enough Mexican food —especially street tacos!

5 Favorite city in the world:
Although I have so many more to check out, I have to say New York because it really has it all!

6 The most important element of good harp technique is:
Closing your fingers!

7 What was your first harp?
Lyon & Healy Troubadour III.

8 Name something you’ve never done in your career that’s on your bucket list:
Give a solo recital in NYC—ideally Carnegie Hall!

9 What’s the career accomplishment that you’re most proud of?
Competing in the USA International Harp Competition [twice]and winning my job with the San Diego Symphony.

10 What’s the best advice you can give an aspiring harpist?
Keep working hard and throw yourself into every opportunity where you can grow and learn to be a better musician. Remember that it’s not necessarily about the end result, but about the process—that’s where the real work happens and where you become a great musician and player!

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1 Comment

  1. deborah-henson-conant on

    Seriously? A Certified Financial Planner?? That’s, like, the coolist thing I ever heard a harpist admit!! Way-ta-go, Julie!!! (And if you DO become a financial planner – between strings – let me know!)

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