Madeline Olson is the first prize winner of the 29th Nippon Harp Competition. The three-round competition took place on Nov. 15-19, 2017, with second and third prize awarded to Shizuko Mitani and Nagisa Tanaka respectively. “The competition was a wonderful experience. Everyone involved in running it was incredibly welcoming and supportive, and it was organized flawlessly,” said Olson. “This was my first multiple-round competition, and I learned so much from my performance. I hope that I can continue to look back on this experience and work on adapting and growing as a musician, and build better and better connections with my audience.” Originally from California, Olson is currently living in New York City. She recently completed her bachelor’s degree at The Juilliard School, where she was a student of Nancy Allen, principal harpist with the New York Philharmonic.
The Nippon Harp Competition was founded in 1989 and is held annually in Soka City. Alternating between the professional and advanced/junior levels each year, it is jointly organized by the Nippon Harp Association and the Soka City Cultural Association. The 2018 competition will focus on the advanced and junior divisions, and it will take place Nov. 15-18, 2018. You can find information for the 30th Nippon Harp Competition here.