One of the biggest draws to the USA International Harp Competition is the repertoire. Not only is learning four stages of music a thrilling challenge for the contestants, but also it allows the contestants to have a wide variety of great concertizing works. USAIHC attempts to select repertoire that is not too difficult, but challenges and hopefully develops the contestants’ musicianship and technique. The committee also makes sure to choose well diversified repertoire, so that wherever one has studied, there will be pieces that they know and wish to play.
Although the repertoire for the first, second and fourth stages are required, there are several instances where you can “choose one” from a list of similar-level options. The third stage is a forty-minute recital and is mainly free choice. Personally, I find this is one of the more exciting rounds because it allows the listeners to get a glimpse of the competitors’ personality and musical taste through the repertoire they choose.
I was able to speak with a few competitors about their favorite piece of the 2016 USAIHC required repertoire list. Here is what they had to say:
“Probably Scintillation by Salzedo because of its wide dynamic range and possibilities for expressive and mysterious qualities.”- Katherine Siochi, USA
“I love the Ginastera Concerto! It seems to fit perfectly in my fingers and is so empowering to play! I love the combination of rhythm and melody, and the cadenza is so fun!” – Rachel Hall, USA
“Renie’s Legende. I love its themes and development. I love the story and the sounds that can be created by the harp to tell the story. This piece allows you to sound like a symphony orchestra.”- Maria Mikhaylovskaya, Russia
“Jean Cras’ Deux Impromptus. It is so beautiful! I never get tired of playing it and it makes me feel peaceful.”- Naomi Hoffmeyer, USA
“I love playing the Hindemith Sonata because of the history behind it. Also, the composition itself, with lots of counterpoint and patterns. In fact, this piece is probably my favorite out of all the standard solo harp repertoire.”- Abigail Kent, USA
“It is impossible to single out only one piece. I put some of my favorites in the program of the third stage, such as Mchedelovs’ Variations of a Theme of Paganini and Tourniers’ Feerie. Also, music by Renie is one of my favorites from the harp repertoire in general. And of course, Ginastera! It is very mysterious and passionate music and I am in deep love with it!”- Oksana Sidyagina, Russia
Tonight, June 16, the Stars of Tomorrow harpists will be performing at 7 PM in Auer Hall. This is a concert that features young national and international prize winners, ages ten to fourteen.
Finally, Friday, June 17, will be the Celebration Gala in honor of the founder and Artistic Director of the USAIHC, Susann McDonald. This will take place in Alumni Hall of the Indiana Memorial Union. This Gala will include performances by Miss McDonald’s most prestigious students, and stories will be shared by some of Miss McDonald’s closeest friends. This will be a concert you do not want to miss!