Six Degrees

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Where does your branch sit on the harp family tree? Start by looking at the main trunk of the harp family tree with the harp’s founding fathers. From there, check out the other major historical branches. To figure out which branch yours grows from, start by asking your teacher about his or her teachers, which would be your harp “grandparents.” To figure out who taught your harp grandparents, start by asking your teacher if they know. Consult references such as Rench’s Harps and Harpists and Govea’s Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Harpists:

As you trace your line back through the generations, you will likely be able to connect yourself to one or more branches of the historical trees. Once you know your history you can play “six degrees of separation” with famous harpists, like the five young professional harpists below.

(Click to enlarge the trees; right click to download and save. See One Big Happy Family, for pictures of the historical trees.)

Annabelle Taubl’s Tree

I am so grateful to have such masters in my ‘lineage and feel very fortunate to have been influenced by such different styles of playing. I know that my playing and teaching are informed by my background. Some of the most rewarding moments for me have been when I see a direct influence in my playing from a teacher. Needless to say, these moments are a great reminder of why I love to play.

—Annabelle Taubl

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About Author

Kela Walton enjoys a varied career as a freelance harpist and teacher in Buffalo, New York. An innovative educator, Kela has maintained a private studio since 1998. In 2014 Kela joined the faculty at Buffalo Suzuki Strings, where she teaches individual and group harp lessons as well as Suzuki Early Childhood Music. Before relocating to Buffalo, Kela founded and directed the harp program for the Round Rock ISD schools in central Texas. Kela was privileged to serve as a harp faculty member previously at Temple College, the University of Houston Moores School of Music Preparatory and Continuing Studies Program, and Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Michigan. Her orchestral credits include engagements with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, San Antonio Symphony, Austin Symphony Orchestra, Corpus Christi Symphony, and Temple Symphony Orchestra. As a chamber musician she has premiered several new works by award winning composers and is the harpist with the Buffalo Chamber Players. She also held a four year position as harpist for tea and holiday brunches at Austin's historic Driskill Hotel. Currently Kela is honored to serve on the national board of directors for the American Harp Society, Inc. Kela Walton holds a Master of Music in Harp Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Houston Moores School of Music where she studied with Paula Page. Additionally she has a Bachelor of Music in Harp Performance from the University of Texas at Austin where she studied with Gayle Barrington. Kela is also an alumnus of the Salzedo School in Camden, Maine where she studied with Alice Chalifoux. Her Suzuki training includes coursework in early childhood education and harp with Sharon Jones, Delaine Fedson Leonard, and Dr. Laurie Scott. After realizing how much her yoga practice enhanced her harp performances and teaching, Kela became certified in Dharma Yoga at the 300 hour level. Kela lives in Buffalo with her husband, conductor Stefan Sanders.

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