Ahead of the Curve


Publishing powerhouse Sylvia Woods has seen a rapid rate of change in the publishing industry in the last two decades, yet she’s always managed to see around the bend.

Sylvia Woods is one of the most recognizable names in the harp world. Whether you play the lever harp or pedal, professional or amateur, self-taught or conservatory-trained, everyone knows Sylvia Woods. Her first book, Teach Yourself to Play the Folk Harp, published in 1978 put her on the publishing map, and since then she has made her name synonymous with accessible harp arrangements for all.

When we ran our cover interview with Woods back in 1998, she was a publishing powerhouse. In addition to her own library of arrangements, original compositions, and instructional books, Woods was running a successful retail business—the Sylvia Woods Harp Center—in Southern California. That store had grown out of her wildly successful mail-order catalog, which harpists of a certain age are sure to remember—a little black and white paper catalog jam-packed with harp music, CDs, accessories, and kitschy harp trinkets galore. Sylvia Woods’ harp catalog and store were, for many years, an oasis of retail therapy for harpists. No one else was doing what she did.

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Editor of Harp Column, freelance harpist, private teacher, hot yoga lover, and grammar geek.

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