Remy van Kesteren sought redemption at the USA International Harp Competition, and he got it.
In 2009, Remy van Kesteren made it to the final stage of the International Harp Contest in Israel. He finished third. Not bad for a teenager performing on an international stage with an orchestra for the first time.
Though the story didn’t end how he had hoped in Israel, Remy moved on. He went to Paris to study with Isabelle Moretti. He started the Dutch Harp Festival and Competition (which will have its third edition in 2014). He performed. He collaborated. He thought he was done with international competitions. But when you see his face cringe ever so slightly and his eyes look wistful as he talked about coming oh-so-close in Israel, you can tell, he wanted another shot.
So Remy put his reputation on the line and entered the 9th USA International Harp Competition this past July in Bloomington, Ind. This time, Remy got his fairytale ending. We caught up with him the morning after his gold-medal win.
Harp Column: It was a really exciting night. That jury deliberated a long time! [Laughs]
Remy van Kesteren: Yes. It was quite a wait!
HC: Well, tell me, what was your reaction in the moment that you knew you were the winner?
RVK: I think I was quite shocked and surprised, obviously very happy—I’ve been looking forward to it. I came here to win, but I wasn’t too sure after the finals. Also because Marta (Marinelli) and Emily (Levin) are such strong players, and you never know what’s going to happen. And I’ve been in finals before four years ago in Israel, and then I didn’t make it, so you never know. It was such a strange situation, and I actually I thought I was not going to win, and then suddenly it came as a great surprise. I was very happy!