By Elaine Litster, National Competition Group Chair
The 23rd American Harp Society National Competition will take place June 16-19, 2019 in Watson Chamber Music Hall on the beautiful campus of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts! Forty-three finalists from throughout the country will be competing in five divisions for scholarship awards totaling over $23,000. The level of musicianship is outstanding, as evidenced by this being one of the largest fields of finalists, EVER. Finalists were selected by an esteemed panel of judges from among 115 entrants. Congratulations to all applicants and finalists!
This is the first time the National Competition has preceded the Summer Institute being held on the same campus (June 19-22, 2019). Institute attendees will not have to miss any of the competition and finalists have the option of attending the Institute without conflicts. For those unable to join us in Winston-Salem, the final competition division rounds and Winners' Recital, on Thursday, June 20 at 10:30 AM, will be live-streamed on the AHS Summer Institute Facebook page.
The competition begins Sunday afternoon, June 16, at 3:00 pm with nine finalists competing in the Intermediate II Division (up to age 18).
Monday, June 17 is dedicated entirely to the Young Profession Division Finals (up to age 30) from 9 AM-4:30 PM. The winner of this division becomes the AHS Concert Artist for two years and will have the opportunity to represent the AHS in performances and master classes throughout the country. Nine finalists are vying for this coveted title.
The Intermediate I Division (up to age 15) begins at 10 AM on Tuesday, June 18. The two youngest divisions are the largest, with 10 finalists competing in each. Also on Tuesday, beginning at 6:00 in the evening, five finalists will be competing in the Advanced Division (up to age 21).
The final Junior Division is for the youngest harpists (up to age 12). The Junior Division will be held Wednesday, June 19 from 8:30 AM to 12:30 PM. This is the only division where the finalists are screened from the judges' view.
The competition is free to the public, and all divisions are open. However, the audience is asked not to clap for the finalists or physically encourage the participants. This allows the music and the finalist's performance to be judged strictly on the merit of what the judges observe without audience influence. Door monitors will allow audience members to enter and exit only between competitors.
JoAnn Turovsky has chaired the AHS National Competition for 38 years. She was the winner of the Intermediate II division in 1972, and then the Young Professional award winner in 1975. In 1982, JoAnn began overseeing the competition. Her unique perspective as a competitor guides her competition administration.
Other people are intricately involved with the Competition, including Competition Administrator Alison Bjorkedal, and Seika Dong and Madeleine Brandli who will be overseeing the Competition operations on site in North Carolina. Thank you to all, including the esteemed judges who selected the finalists, and will be judging each division in June.
The Gotthoffer Family Foundation is generously sponsoring the 1st place Young Professional Division award, and JoAnn Turovsky is commemorating her own experience by underwriting the Intermediate II division first prize. The AHS National Competition welcomes all sponsorships and financial support. Contact Kathy McManus if you are interested in supporting this biennial event.