“I don’t think I’ve ever practiced that intensely for that many days all at once, and by the day of the finals, my arms and hands were really sore,” says Siochi of her marathon 10 days at the International Harp Competition. It all paid off as Siochi took home the gold, becoming the first American winner of the competition since 1989.
I confess: I was rooting for Katherine Siochi all along. As one of the editors at Harp Column I know I shouldn’t play favorites, but having known and worked with Katherine since she was 12, I couldn’t help but think to myself as I watched the live stream of the USA International Harp Competition in July, “Yes! I want her to win it!” And she did. Siochi had some stiff competition to take home the gold medal this year. Silver medalist Elizabeth Bass and bronze medalist Lenka Petrovic gave outstanding performances as well, and the judges certainly had their proverbial work cut out for them. But there can be only one first place winner, and as Katherine is the first to humbly point out, “luck always plays a role to a certain extent.” I caught up with her at the American Harp Society Conference in Atlanta to find out more about the competition, how she prepared, and how she became the lucky Golden Girl.
Harp Column: We are just a couple weeks removed from your win at the USA International Harp Competition. Bravo!
Katherine Siochi: Thank you!
HC: What was the first thing that went through your head when you won?
KS: Honestly I can’t really remember. My brain kind of just froze, and I don’t think I really processed it for a while—definitely not that whole evening! [Laughs] I’m still processing even now, so I don’t know!
HC: Fair enough! What was the moment you knew winning was within your grasp during the competition?
KS: After I played my third stage, I felt pretty confident with how that round had gone, and I was really happy with it. So when I found out that I had advanced to finals, I definitely had a better idea that it was possible. But before stage three I didn’t really think it was going to happen because I didn’t even think I’d advance to stage two, necessarily, since only 20 people out of 40 pass. So after the third round, I knew it was a little more possible, but I was very nervous for the final stage because the concerto was definitely my least prepared piece.