Renée Murphy takes home top prize in 2018 Nippon Harp Competition


Following the 30th Nippon Harp Competition, Renée Murphy has been awarded the top prize. “I am truly honored to have won,” Murphy says. “It was especially meaningful for me to compete and perform in Japan because I am half–Japanese and consider Japan my home.” The competition took place Nov. 15­­–17, 2018 and featured 46 competitors between the advanced and junior divisions. Composer Akio Yasuraoka chaired the jury made up of harpists Dan Yu, Nicolas Tulliez, Kumiko Inoue, Mieko Inoue, Eri Matsumura, Yusuke Yamazaki, with violist Yuki Hyakutake and flutist Junzo Hosokawa.

Murphy, a resident of Bloomington, Ind., currently studies privately with Florence Sitruk and was previously a student of Elzbieta Szmyt at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music Pre­–College. When asked her experience in Nippon, she says, “The competition was run with wonderfully organized and professional staff. They were always ready to assist with any issues regarding the instruments and made sure that each contestant had plenty of time to practice every day.” She mentions that this was her first time competing internationally, which added to her nerves leading up to the competition. “But I am very grateful for the wonderful and memorable experiences which I had in Japan… The energy and joy I felt as I was performing are something I will never forget.” Prior to Nippon, she won the young artist competitions in Muncie and Carmel, both in Indiana, the junior division of the American Harp Society National Competition, and the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra Youth Concerto Competition in 2017.

Advanced Division

First prize: Renée Murphy
Second prize: Evelien Vaneysendeyk
Third prize: Jing Chenyang
Fourth prize: Rena Kojima
Fifth prize: Mai Kamiyama
Sixth prize: Nonoko Seki

Junior Division:

First prize: Mizuki Namba
Second prize: Eve Lung
Third prize: Rina Kubo
Fourth prize: Renee Yadav
Fifth prize: Mio Ishikawa
Sixth prize: Zulaykha Kadieva

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