Harpist Daniel Benedict on the Latest Episode of WHYY's "On Stage at Curtis"

The Curtis harp student from Oak Park, Ill. performs a set of works by Glinka, Salzedo, Esmail and Debussy

“The key to getting good at anything is enjoying it and making it a part of your life.”

Season 17 of WHYY’s acclaimed On Stage at Curtis series continues with a portrait of harpist Daniel Benedict. The Maryjane Mayhew Barton Fellow from Oak Park, Illinois, entered Curtis in 2020 and currently studies with Elizabeth Hainen, solo harpist with The Philadelphia Orchestra.

The youngest of six siblings, Mr. Benedict began playing harp at his mother’s suggestion as a child. His love for volleyball and athletics complemented this musical journey. He talks about joining a ping pong club and how that sport’s quick eye-hand coordination ultimately improves his harp playing.

Male harpists are common in Europe, but in the United States, they make up only 10% of those who play the instrument professionally. Mr. Benedict discusses some inspiring famous male harpists, defying expectations during auditions and delving into the technical and musical aspects of his instrument.

Featured performances include Mikhail Glinka’s Nocturne, Carlos Salzedo’s On Arpeggios, Reena Esmail’s Jhula Jhule with oboist Mekhi Gladden (’22), and Claude Debussy’s “Danseuses de Delphes,” from Préludes, Book 1, arranged by Carlos Salzedo (who founded the harp department at Curtis), and featuring harpists Claire Thai (’22), Subin Lee, and Elizabeth Hainen.

Click HERE to watch the On Stage at Curtis episode, or click the video below.


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