Best harp playing complement you ever got?

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    Elizabeth L

    What’s the best one you’ve gotten?


    One of the best musicians I know, a pianist who has played with many orchestras and many great musicians over the decades, heard me play once and told me that I was obviously born to play.

    That is tied with the first time my teacher referred to me as a harpist, and not a harp student.


    Gosh, I have 2 actually that I’ll NEVER forget.


    I think my best was a couple of weeks ago.


    I once played a gig where I played Salzedo’s Eight Dances, not long after Heidi Lehwalder’s legendary recording was out, and a woman said my playing was fluid, and reminded her of Heidi. That made my, not day, my life.


    still waiting for it 🙁


    I went to a harp camp and everyone there (including the teacher) had been playing 10 years or more.

    Angela Biggs

    Elizabeth, what’s yours?

    I sang and played in a concert for organ, soprano, and harp a couple of months ago. I brought my harp to one of the rehearsals to get a feel for the space and pinpoint potential problems (the patterned carpet. . .). As I finished playing through, the professional organist — as in, degree in organ, playing for a living for forty years or so — said, “. . .And you said you taught yourself?” The tinge of disbelief was gratifying. 🙂

    David Ice

    I was playing at hospice. A woman approached me and asked me if I could play
    CLAIR DE LUNE. She explained that was the song she came down the aisle to at her
    wedding….and she and her husband had just celebrated their 50th wedding
    anniversary yesterday. But he was diagnosed with terminal cancer a week ago, and
    only had a few days left–it was very fast moving and virulent.

    I was so
    happy to be able to tell her “Yes, absolutely, I will play CLAIR DE LUNE for
    you”…and played it perhaps the best I’d ever played it, ever. The two of them
    just sat there, holding hands, with tears streaming down their

    That one moment made all the blood, sweat, tears, and years of
    work and effort on the harp worthwhile, to be able to grant that wish to them.
    I’ve never forgotten them, and I still tear up thinking about them.


    I remember several compliments that are personally meaningful for me, whether they were a wink or a nod from picky conductors, or a bow of acknowledgement from star performers or famous individuals.

    But other than playing for my own mother, a special one for me was from a situation similar to David’s hospice story.

    I had just started playing Bach-Guonod’s “Ave Maria” on the cancer floor at Duke hospital when a woman came running down the hallway with tears in her eyes and asked me to come to her husband’s room. Apparently he had just been told that his pancreatic cancer had advanced too quickly for the treatment and that he had very little time left to live. At that moment I began to play the “Ave Maria” and it gave him a great deal of comfort and peace. It was a memorable moment, I knew I was at the right place at the right time to humbly offer the gift of music. Not long afterward I was contacted by the wife and asked to play at the funeral. It was a beautiful service that was overflowing with guests out the door of the church.

    Apparently he was very loved in the community and a friend and neighbor of Coach K at Duke.

    For all the times we feel our playing is not acknowledged or appreciated, there are times when our music touches a soul or many souls at a time when it is most needed, and that is worth more than any words can say. : )

    Elizabeth L

    These are a lot more interesting than mine.

    Elizabeth L

    I’m wondering why there are not more responses.

    Angela Biggs

    lol, Elizabeth, in addition to playing the harp, I sing with classical technique in a light, clear, voice. And my name is Angela. And I sing primarily as a cantor in Catholic churches. And I mostly sing from the choir loft. It’s all I can do not to roll my eyes at that one; but I try really hard not to, because people really mean it, and without exception every person thinks he’s the first one to come up with it!

    People really do mean that particular compliment though; it’s almost never an off-the-cuff one. You deserve to feel proud about it! 🙂



    What a fascinating question. (I don’t think I’ve seen this question posted here before.) By the way…David Ice’s answer gave me goose bumps. Nice work, David.

    I think the nicest compliments I have received have been when people have cried. Music has to be moving and powerful to bring people to tears. It makes me even more aware of what beautiful music we can make with this instrument that we harpists love so much.


    Rod C.


    My most memorable experience was also in a hospice.

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