Hailed by the New York Times as a harpist with "powerful playing and musicianly energy," Yolanda Kondonassis is recognized as one of the world’s foremost harpists, performing both as a concerto soloist and recitalist throughout the United States, Far East, and Europe.
Since making her debut at age 18 with the New York Philharmonic and Zubin Mehta, she has appeared as soloist with numerous major orchestras such as The Cleveland Orchestra, the English Chamber Orchestra, the Detroit Symphony, and the Hong Kong Philharmonic, to name a few. Other solo appearances include engagements at Lincoln Center, the 92nd Street Y, and Taiwan's National Concert Hall. Highlights of the upcoming season include the world premiere and recording of Bright Sheng’s Never Far Away: Concerto for Harp and Orchestra. Composed for Ms. Kondonasssis, the concerto is underwritten by the San Diego Symphony, the Dallas Symphony, the Grand Rapids Symphony, and Oberlin Conservatory of Music for a premiere season in 2008-2009 with Ms. Kondonassis as soloist.
As a Telarc recording artist praised by Gramophone magazine for the "clarity, colour, and rhythmic vitality of [her] playing," Ms. Kondonassis has won universal critical acclaim for her thirteen discs, which include much of the standard repertoire, as well as her own transcriptions and compositions for harp. With over 100,000 albums sold worldwide, her latest recording Salzedo’s Harp: Music of Carlos Salzedo, was released in October of 2007. Other releases include Debussy’s Harp, The Romantic Harp, her own (and the first-ever) harp transcription of Vivaldi's The Four Seasons with the Orchestra of Flanders, an all-Hovhaness album, featuring his Spirit of Trees in its world premiere recording, Quietude, A New Baroque, Pictures of the Floating World, Dream Season, Sky Music, and her debut album, Scintillation. Her recording of Mozart’s Concerto for Flute and Harp, with flutist Renée Krimsier and the English Chamber Orchestra, was released on the Channel Classics label. Her upcoming Telarc release, entitled Air, features the parallel works of Claude Debussy and Toru Takemitsu and will be available in October, 2008.
Ms. Kondonassis’ first book, On Playing the Harp, a comprehensive guide to harp technique and methodology, was published in 2003 and has quickly become an important addition to the harp pedagogy literature. Her second book, The Yolanda Kondonassis Collection, is a compilation of her many original transcriptions, arrangements, and compositions for the harp. Her most recent release, The Yolanda Kondonassis Christmas Collection, features Ms. Kondonassis’ most popular arrangements from her highly acclaimed CD, Dream Season: The Christmas Harp. Ms. Kondonassis’ works are published by Carl Fischer.
Ms. Kondonassis' long list of national and international honors includes top prizes in the Affiliate Artists National Auditions in New York and the Maria Korchinska International Harp Competition in Great Britain. She has been featured on CNN and PBS television as well as on National Public Radio's All Things Considered, St. Paul Sunday Morning, and Performance Today. In addition to her active performing and recording schedule, Ms. Kondonassis heads the harp departments at the Cleveland Institute of Music and Oberlin College Conservatory and has given masterclasses around the world.
Ms. Kondonassis was born in Norman, Oklahoma, where she began studying the harp at age 9. She attended high school at Interlochen Arts Academy and received her Bachelor's and Master's degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music, as a student of Alice Chalifoux. Yolanda Kondonassis plays a Lyon & Healy Salzedo Model harp.
For more information on Yolanda Kondonassis, visit www.yolandaharp.com.