2016 USA International Harp Competition- Day 1

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Welcome to the 2016 USA International Harp Competition (USAIHC) Blog! My name is Natalie Hoffmann and I will be updating fellow harpists and competitors’ families and friends throughout the world with the results from each stage of the competition.  So please stay tuned to the blog posts and feel free to share and spread the word.

A quick background on me- I am in my second year of my Masters in Music at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, studying with the legendary Susann McDonald.  During this USA Competition, I will be working along side of Erin Brooker-Miller, Program Director for USAIHC.  My responsibilities as Program Coordinator will be mainly behind the scenes… scheduling practice rooms, moving and tuning harps, and helping the competitors and their families in every way possible to provide them with the best experience during the Competition.

The USA International Harp Competition is starting with a total of forty contestants from sixteen countries around the world.  In just ten short days, we will be at our final three competitors!  Here is the list of 2016 contestants:

Ritsuko Arima, Japan (23)

Aisté Baliunyté, Lithuania (23)

Elizabeth Bass, United Kingdom (21)

Yunhuan Chen, China (22)

Yeon Hwa Chung, South Korea (27)

Hannah Cope Johnson, USA (21)

Antonella de Franco, Italy (22)

Héloïse de Jenlis, France (21)

Catherine Derrick, United Kingdom (21)

Shelly Du, China (27)

Katie Graham, USA (24)

Rachel Hall, USA (22)

Naomi Hoffmeyer, USA (28)

Se Hee Hwang, South Korea (20)

Se Young Hwang, South Korea (21)

Abigail Kent, USA (21)

Olivia Hyoyeon Kim, USA (22)

Claudia Lucia Lamanna, Italy (20)

Woojin Lee, South Korea (18)

Valerio Lisci, Italy (21)

Yiyun Loei, Australia (29)

Melanie Mashner, USA (20)

Maria Mikhaylovskaya, Russia (23)

Shizuko Mitani, Japan (21)

Hilla Ofek, Israel (25)

Louise Ollivier, France (26)

Jia Peng, China (25)

Lenka Petrovic, Serbia (20)

Marika Cecilia Riedl, Germany (19)

Arianna Rossi, Italy (22)

Oksana Sidyagina, Russia (26)

Katherine Siochi, USA (22)

Oksana Sushkova, Russia (27)

Joanna Thalmann, Switzerland (21)

Alexandra Tikhonova, Russia (19)

Elise Veyres, France (23)

Joel von Lerber, Switzerland (24)

Valeria Voshchennikova, Russia (23)

Noël Wan, Taiwan (22)

Klara Woskowiak, Poland (24)

The 2016 Jury includes:

Judy Loman, President

Emmanuel Ceysson

Jason Chang

Sarah O’Brien

Florence Sitruk

Caryl Thomas

Irina Zingg

Today, the contestants drew their performance slots at random for Stages 1 and 2. In the evening, the Opening Ceremony was held in Auer Hall.  This Ceremony introduced and recognized all the board members, jury members, contestants, staff, volunteers, host families and everyone else who has contributed their time and efforts into making this world-renown competition a success.

Stage 1 of the competition begins tomorrow at 9 AM, and continues for two more days (June 9-11).  The first round will take place in Recital Hall, which is Indiana University’s most historic performance venue.  The first performance was given in this 500-seat hall January 15, 1937.  Although quite a beautiful hall, be prepared to sit in very uncomfortable wooden chairs!

To everyone who has arrived for this event, welcome to Bloomington! I hope you have a wonderful stay and a great experience at the USAIHC.  Contestants, I wish you the best of luck in the competition and I look forward to hearing you play!

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