Following an audition that took place Sept. 14–17, Julia Coronelli was named principal harpist with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. She will begin her tenure with the orchestra at the start of the 2020–2021 season. “I’m absolutely thrilled to have won,” Coronelli says. “There were tons of amazing harpists at this audition and four full audition days. This was my seventh time in the finals [of an orchestra audition], and it’s always incredibly thrilling and an honor to be competing in such great company.”
She shares that the final day of the audition spanned over 12 hours for her, playing her first round before 9 am and not finishing until nearly 10 pm. “In my opinion, auditions are always a test of mental and emotional endurance as much as they are about playing the notes and music! The last round was actually two parts, and the screen stayed up all the way until the second part of finals, when two of us advanced to the ensemble round, where we played with principal flutist Sonora Slocum.”
The principal harp position has been vacant since Danis Kelly retired from the orchestra over four years ago. In 2018, the symphony selected Ken-David Masur as their new music director, and the harp audition was one of the first heard by the symphony’s new leader. “I’m especially happy because it is an extremely exciting time to be joining the orchestra. Ken-David Masur has just started his first season as their new music director, and it was an incredible experience meeting him on Tuesday after the audition,” Coronelli shares. The orchestra will also be moving into a new concert hall at the start of next season, adding to her excitement.
Before heading to Milwaukee next fall, Coronelli will spend the 2019–2020 season as acting principal harpist with the Sarasota Symphony. She has been principal harpist with the Britt Music & Arts Festival in Jacksonville, Ore. since 2016 and was previously a fellow with the New World Symphony in Miami, where she stayed for three seasons.