Her native tongue is Korean, her schooling was in French, she speaks English with her students, but it is the language of music where June Han feels most at home
—by Grace Browning
For years harpists have been singing the praises of June Han.
“You really should interview her—she’s a fantastic teacher.”
“You really should interview her—she’s a brilliant performer.”
“You really should interview her—her background is fascinating.”
All those people were right. Last year Han became one of our master teachers at Harp Column Academy (harpcolumnacademy.com), and it became abundantly clear to us what all the buzz was about.
The daughter of diplomats, Han has lived all over the world. She was born in Korea, trained in France, and teaches at Yale University and Juilliard’s Pre-College program. Her playing is superb, and while she doesn’t hold a full-time orchestral position, she is the first call for many of the top orchestras in the Northeast, including the New York Philharmonic and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. She relishes the freedom her schedule gives her and fiercely guards her practice time to keep her life balanced. Han made time between rehearsals of Wagner’s Ring cycle at the Metropolitan Opera to sit down for an interview with Harp Column correspondent and another one of the six Ring harpists, Grace Browning.
Harp Column: It has been such a joy working with you in the MET’s Ring Cycle! What is it like playing all four Ring operas with six harps?!
June Han: Playing the Ring has been on my bucket list because I love opera in general, and Wagner. I’ve seen them all many times, but I never would have believed that I’d get to play the whole cycle for the first time at the Metropolitan Opera. I played stage versions with Boston Symphony and the New York Philharmonic, but this is a new experience.