Yolanda Kondonassis is recognized as one of America's foremost harpists, performing both as a concerto soloist and a recitalist throughout the United States, the Far East, and Europe. An exclusive Telarc recording artist, her sixth and current recording features the first-ever transcription for harp of the solo violin part from Vivaldi's popular "The Four Seasons." The orchestral accompaniment was arranged by conductor Rudolf Werthen. Asked why she wanted to transcribe this piece for harp, Kondonassis replied, "I have always loved the work and was convinced there had to be a way to translate it effectively onto my instrument…My conclusion was that for a transcription of this piece to be successful, tempi must be very close to those originally intended, and the color and spirit of Vivaldi's score must be retained." Questioned about the effectiveness of the sound of the harp in this work, she commented "…in the area of coloristic effect, the harp is capable of enormous range…I had great fun exploring the ways in which the harp can suggest such images as the trilling of a bird, the buzzing of an insect, the flight of a hunted animal, and the cracking of ice." She calls Vivaldi's masterpiece "A timeless work that not only sparkles with Baroque energy but also creates a series of vivid imaginary pictures in the most programmatic sense."
Her five previous Telarc releases have won universal critical acclaim and have included many of her idiomatic transcriptions and arrangements, as well as two of her own solo compositions for harp. Selected by the New York Daily News as one of the "Ten Best Classical CDs of 1996," Sky Music featuring the title work by Ned Rorem, the Suite for Harp by Hovhaness, and selections by Salzedo, Fauré, and Debussy. Music journalist James Reel in a recent Fanfare magazine interview hailed Kondonassis as "one feisty musician&#!33;constantly expanding [the harp] repertoire through her own well-crafted arrangements." Upcoming projects for the harpist on Telarc will include a world premiere recording of Hovhaness' s "Harp Concerto," for release in the Spring of 2000.