Back in 1998, French harpist Xavier de Maistre had a year harp dreams are made of. But de Maistre’s harp dream turned out to be different than the norm. Today he’s living out the solo career no one thought possible.
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To say 1998 was a good year for Xavier de Maistre is an understatement. De Maistre’s 1998 would constitute a great career for most harpists. When we interviewed de Maistre for our September/October 1998 issue of Harp Column, the 25-year-old had just won the USA International Harp Competition (IHC) in Bloomington. Later that fall, de Maistre won the principal harp position with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. Two crowning achievements for any harpist’s career, both accomplished in the span of just six months.
At this point in the story, de Maistre could have kicked back and just mailed it in. He had a major international competition title under his belt and a dream job with one of the world’s best orchestras. Put the cruise control on and enjoy the ride, right? Of course not, we all know musicians aren’t satisfied with auto-pilot. No one works their entire life to win and orchestra job so they can punch a time clock for the rest of their lives. So it’s no surprise that de Maistre dove head first into his new position with Vienna. In 2008 he signed an exclusive recording contract with Sony Classical and released his first album Nuit d’Etoiles, for which he won an Echo Klassik Award (Germany’s classical music awards) for best instrumentalist.