A few weeks ago I met Megan Landfair, who left her job as Executive Director of the USA International Harp Competition to become the manager of the Virginia Harp Center’s Haddonfield, NJ branch. She’ll jump right into her new position with a “Meet and Greet Recital and Reception” on Thursday, May 29 in Haddonfield. (Scroll down for details.) We took this opportunity to ask Megan a few questions about her new job…
Tell us about your new job at the Virginia Harp Center…
Sure, in April I moved to the Philadelphia area to start working as the Manager of the Virginia Harp Center’s Haddonfield store. A big part of my new position is helping harpists from all around the world pick out their dream instrument. Over the past few months it’s been awesome to watch harpists come into the store and fall in love with their instrument!
The other great opportunity that this job offers is a chance for me to highlight harpists throughout the area. I’m not sure if many people are aware that both of VHC’s showrooms in Richmond and Haddonfield present events year round. I know that last year the Haddonfield store presented concerts featuring Duo Scorpio and Elizabeth Hainen. In the next few weeks I’ll be sitting down with my staff to plan out the events for 2014/2015. Be sure to become VHC’s friend on Facebook and you’ll never miss an event!
What prompted the move?
After I had my interview with the owners of the Virginia Harp Center, Mary Jane and David D’Arville, I knew that it would be a great fit! I could immediately sense how much they both cared about not only the business but also their customers. This move was also a great because I’m now much closer to many friends and family members.
Your previous job was Executive Director of the USAIHC. Can you tell us some of the things you learned in that role?
Sure, it was certainly a learning experience! As part of my doctoral degree, I received an arts administration minor, so it was a great opportunity to work for an arts organization that aligned directly with my passion.
Although the USAIHC competition only occurs every three years, I feel that it’s important for everyone to understand just how much work goes into preparing such a large international event. For example I know that since the last competition ended in July 2013 there have already been great efforts in preparation for the next competition that will occur in the summer of 2016. Since the USAIHC is a non-profit organization, hours are spent trying to raise money through fundraising and grant applications.
It was also wonderful to meet so many harpists from around the world. Throughout the competition I was constantly inspired by their dedication and artistry. It truly made all that hard work worthwhile!
You recently finished your doctorate—what was that process like?
Yes, I recently received my doctorate in harp from Indiana University Jacobs School of Music where I studied with Distinguished Professor of Harp, Susann McDonald.
The process was long, but I don’t regret it for one minute. Indiana University offers such a unique experience for harpists both in the academic and performance settings. You gain so much by just being in that environment and surrounded by so much talent!
IU’s doctoral program requires about 3-4 years of course work depending on your degree and harpists must perform 4 required recitals (solo, chamber, concerto and lecture). Once you are finished with the course work you have to take final exams and complete a final project.
What’s this about some little-known Tailleferre works you’ve uncovered?
Yes, the final project that I completed for my degree focused on the obscure works for harp created by Germaine Tailleferre. Many harpists are only aware of Tailleferre’s Sonata, but I feel it is also important to know that she created 18 études for harp and a Concertino for Harp and Orchestra.
If you’re a teacher looking for something outside of the ordinary études, I would highly recommend Tailleferre’s Le Petit Livre de Harpe de Madame Tardieu, Dix-huit études pour Harpe. Although it is important to realize that she did not intend for these études to be utilized for the purpose of developing a harpist’s technique, but rather they were created to enhance one’s musicianship. That being said there are many difficult technical challenges that I believe would help improve a harpist’s overall technique.
Throughout my final project it was also fascinating for me to research Tailleferre’s Concertino Harp and Orchestra. It is a gorgeous composition that I believe is underappreciated. I would highly recommend harpists to learn this piece especially if you have a chance to perform live with an orchestra. I’m hoping one day to attend a live performance.
You’ll be performing those on May 29, right? Can you tell us more about your big welcome party?
Yes, I’m flattered that the Virginia Harp Center is presenting me in a “meet & greet” recital. It will be a great opportunity for me to share a few of Tailleferre’s études and I’m also looking forward to performing a few pieces with my husband Cale, who is a classical guitarist.
The recital will take place on May, 29th, 7:30pm at the Markeim Arts Center in Haddonfield NJ, followed by a wine and cheese reception. I hope to see you there and look forward to meeting so many new people!