© 2022 KUAF
NPR Affiliate since 1985
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Ways to help Ukraine? CLICK HERE

Making the Harp Less Angelic: A Conversation with Yolanda Kondonassis

Mark Battrell

Towering Argentine composer Alberto Ginastera helped harpist Yolanda Kondonassis determine, "I think I can do this harp thing my way."

When she first glanced at the score to his famed harp concerto she was excited at the pianistic nature and spirit of the electrifying piece, as her first love as a musician was on the piano.

"My mother was a piano teacher and she started lifting me up to the piano bench from pretty much the time I could hold my head up," she explains. Growing up in Norman, Okla., she describes herself as very much a tomboy who her mother hoped to refine a bit by pushing the most angelic of instruments her way.

Although Kondonassis went on to become a sought-after international harp sensation, it didn't work out exactly as her mother planned.

"Instead of me becoming a little more angelic with the harp, perhaps it worked the other way around," she says.  "Perhaps the harp became a little less angelic with me playing it."

Related Content