Q and A with Jim Pinkerton


Looking for a harp regulation in Texas? Harp technician Jim Pinkerton is back in action (pun intended) and ready to serve! I caught up with him this week to find out what he’s been up to…

You’re a professional harpist, harp technician, and a nurse. Talk about a varied career! How do you decide what do when you wake up in the morning?

I had traveled very extensively when I was managed by Columbia Artists in New York City. I knew eventually that I wanted to stay home, free-lance, and still play recitals. I was lucky to still have the GI bill for education, so as a backup obtained my BSN and MSN. Very smart move for later in life! I worked on and off as an RN and Nurse Practitioner to pay bills. And when I had to retire from performing, I turned to teaching nursing in a small college.

So, let’s cut to the chase: you took some time off but now you’re re-igniting your career as a harp technician. What got you into harp regulation in the first place?

I simply burned out in nursing, which happens a great deal. To supplement my income, I went to Lyon & Healy in August 1999. They had just started to look at initiating a course to train regulators. There simple weren’t enough technicians to cover the demand of the harpists.

Can you tell us about some of the clients you’ve worked for in the past?

There are so many! Almost all of them are good friends. I did a good deal of work in NYC, staying with my great friend Ray Pool. In addition to single owners, I was contacted by several larger communities. Among them: The Manhattan School of Music, Mannes, Yale, Peabody, The Metropolitan Opera, and several orchestras.

Are you planning to travel as much as you did early on?

I don’t know yet to be honest. I drove almost all of the time up and down the East Coast from Maine to South Carolina. Right now I probably will stay in and around Texas unless someone offers several harps in a single location and it’s a destination I can’t refuse. (LOL—hint-hint.)

Are you still doing any playing?

The hardest point of my life was giving up playing and performing in July of 2006. I thought I would play well into my 70s but health reasons precluded doing that. I do enjoy playing the piano now and have a great Yamaha Concert Grand and wonderful teacher.

What’s your favorite piece to play (or listen to)?

Right now I am immersed in Beethoven and Schubert. Since those two composers didn’t write for the harp, I am now investigating something new and wonderful.

What’s your most memorable performing experience?

I had so many. But two come to mind right away. In February of 1977 I performed the Ginastera Concerto Chicago premiere in Symphony Hall. In the early ’80s I was called back to Orchestra Hall in Boston for the second time to play the Handel Concerto with the Handel/Haydn Society.

What inspires you?

Music and Life. I have been blessed with a great and varied career in several different areas. I think Plato probably summed it up very well: “Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything.”

Anything else you want our Harp Column readers to know about you?

I love my Mustang! You can’t get a harp into it but driving it is shear beauty and a great deal of fun!!!

Contact Jim at jkp44@att.net.



About Author

Kimberly Rowe is co-founder of Harp Column and served as Editor of the print edition from 1993–2013. She now serves as Web Editor. Kimberly performs and teaches in the mid-Atlantic region of the US. She is co-founder of the Young Artist's Harp Seminar, and on the faculty at Temple University, in Philadelphia.

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