Caroline Wilkins wins top prize in American Harp Society National Competition


Caroline Wilkins has been named concert artist for the American Harp Society, following the national competition that took place June 16–19 in Winston–Salem, N.C. The competition included 43 finalists competing in five divisions for scholarship awards totaling over $23,000. As winner of the top division for young professionals, Wilkins receives the distinct honor and financial support to work with AHS chapters around the country through 2021. “These next two years are going to be a lot of fun,” says Wilkins. “I absolutely love teaching, so I’d have to say that I’m most excited about the prospect of giving masterclasses and meeting so many different students around the country. I can’t wait to meet everyone and share my love of the harp with them.”

Reflecting on her journey to becoming the AHS concert artist, Wilkins says, “From sixth grade to my senior year of high school I sent in recordings for the AHS competition several times, but never got accepted as a finalist.  In college I became much more focused on orchestral playing, and was honestly too intimidated to tryout for the competition again. Then in 2017, I had the wonderful opportunity to work as one of the onsite coordinators at the competition. A few of my friends were actually competing themselves, and I saw firsthand how preparing for the competition had significantly improved their playing.  Working behind the scenes and watching the finalists have such a thrilling experience, I decided that I had to at least try one more time to make it to finals. I can’t tell you how many times that I’ve wondered if my hard work would ever amount to anything.  Through many bitter disappointments, I thought of the quote ‘Success is the ability to move from one failure to another without loss of enthusiasm.’ That thought is what would motivate me to sit back down at the harp every day and put in my practice hours.”

When asked about her experience in Winston–Salem, she is enthusiastic. “I’ve never had such a blast performing before. I framed my mindset so that I didn’t think of it as competing against other harpists, but rather as an opportunity to play this fabulous music for everyone and convey the joy that it brings me.”

Young Professional Division (max. age 30)

1st prize: Caroline Wilkins
2nd prize: Hannah Cope
3rd prize (tie): Adam Phan and Juan Riveros
4th prize: Noël Wan
5th prize: Chelsea Lane
6th prize (tie): Anna Ellsworth and Hope Wilk
Honorable mention: Haley Rhodeside

Advanced Division (max. age 21)

1st prize (tie): Claire Thai and Morgan Short
2nd prize: Kaila Geisinger
3rd prize: Caroline Mellott
4th prize: Clara Warfod

Intermediate II Division (max. age 18)

1st prize: Annette Lee
2nd prize (tie): Priyanka Gohal and Shaylen Joos
3rd prize: Danielle Nam
4th prize: Amanda Kengor
5th prize: Lily Primus
6th prize (tie): Julia Johnson and Erika Rosen
Honorable mention: Beth Henson

Intermediate I Division (max. age 15)

1st prize: Kathleen Hopkins
2nd prize:  Eunice Park
3rd prize: Isabel Cardenes
4th prize: Sophia Jho
5th prize: Ava Crook
6th prize: Jadelyn Ding
Honorable mentions: Judy Liu, Elizabeth Johnson, Skyler Moon, and Belle Divine

Junior Division (max. age 12)

1st prize: Olivia Lee
2nd prize: Erin Choi
3rd prize: Kaila Blodgett
4th prize (tie): Grace Hong and Tessa Jackson
5th prize (tie): Sophia Love and Aaron Stewart
6th prize (tie): Calene Lee, Sarah Smith, and Megan Williams

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