Curtis Harp Colony

Where Good Harpists Become Great Musicians


Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Harp Colony will take place online during the designated festival dates. Stay tuned for more information. 

The Curtis Harp Colony is an advanced training ground for the world’s next generation of professional harpists. The colony is a true pedagogical institution, with emphasis on individual development for promising young harpists as well as professionals. Distinguished faculty Elizabeth Hainen and Judy Loman (Harp ’56) conduct an intensive week of orchestral training through mock auditions and master classes, culminating in a performance in the final concert. Whether looking to enter competitions or merely seeking a greater knowledge of the repertoire, students will benefit from a full exploration of harp literature.

Summer 2020 Updates for Participants

The safety and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff are our foremost concern. The Curtis Harp Colony remains committed to creating a rewarding experience and welcoming community for participants. The online curriculum will be similar to what was originally envisioned.

Students will pre-record pieces to review live during master classes held via webinar and have access to an online learning platform with calendar view, educational modules, and discussion boards. Although the harp ensembles cannot continue as planned, the Harp Colony is committed to exploring online opportunities for group musical collaborations. More information will be available as the festival period approaches. 

Accepted students will receive additional details via e-mail.

View a preliminary schedule of activities (subject to change; all activities in Eastern Time)



About the Colony

The Curtis Summerfest Harp Colony continues a rich legacy dating back to celebrated harpist Carlos Leon Salzedo, who headed the harp department at the Curtis Institute of Music from the school’s founding in 1924 until his death in 1961, and has long been revered at Curtis as the founder of a tradition of harp study and practice that continues to this day. In 1931, he founded the Salzedo Harp Colony (also known as the Salzedo School), a harp workshop in Camden, Maine.

The Salzedo Harp Colony provided an environment for the type of intensive private study that was not possible during the regular concert season. Students lived with local families and performed for each other in weekly chamber music concerts, in addition to practicing and enjoying the beautiful environment of the area. When Salzedo passed away in 1961, one of his most noted distinguished former students, Alice Chalifoux, took over direction of the colony, teaching students until her retirement in 2002.

While Elizabeth Hainen was unfortunately never able to attend the Salzedo Harp Colony, in 2004, she founded the Saratoga Harp Colony, a similar retreat for promising young harpists in New York. Moving to the Curtis Institute of Music in 2016, the Curtis Summerfest Harp Colony continues Salzedo’s rich tradition of harp pedagogy at Curtis.

Every participant selects the track appropriate for them.

Performers play in intimate master classes with Elizabeth Hainen and Judy Loman.

Recommended for intermediate to advanced performers of any age. Past participants have garnered international recognition, including two prizes at the 2017 Lyon & Healy Awards.

Master class
The center-piece to your time at the colony, master classes are taught by Elizabeth Hainen, faculty at Curtis and principal harp of the Philadelphia Orchestra, and Judy Loman (Harp '56). Participants prepare two to four memorized pieces from the major solo harp repertoire and harp parts or cadenzas from the major orchestral repertoire (i.e. Swan Lake Suite, Symphonie Fantastique). Select performers will be chosen to perform at the final recital.

Play for the Pros: Mock Audition
Performers interested in pursuing an orchestral career will benefit from mock auditions. This is an invaluable opportunity to perform your orchestral excerpts in a simulated audition environment. Participants will play for a panel of Harp Colony faculty.

Harp Ensemble

Performers who choose to participate in harp ensembles will be matched with a quartet or trio of peers and receive coaching from Maryanne Meyer or Professional Retreat participants.

Exploration of the Salzedo Archive Collection
Participants explore and gain access on an informative private tour of the Curtis Institute of Music and an exclusive peek into the Salzedo Archive Collection.

Today's Harpist

In a world of social media, reality television and self-promoting incentives at every turn, it is becoming increasingly difficult to decide how much or how little to engage with the wide range of promotional tools available. This seminar suggests how we can find a balance by asking this question: “How do we as harpists best serve ourselves while serving our listeners with quality performances that are worth the campaign trail?”

Wrap-up sessions
Each performer meets briefly with Elizabeth Hainen at the end of the program for informal artistic-advising chats.

Young Professionals: Register for the Professional Retreat
Wednesday, June 10–Friday, June 12, 2020

Young professionals launch burgeoning careers while meeting other harpists from around the country. Participants may check in to the program on the evening of Tuesday, June 9 or morning of Wednesday, June 10.

Young Professionals Recital

Perform a selection of your choosing in an open recital on the Curtis Summerfest season: Friday, June 12 at 2 p.m.

Master Classes

Observe multiple master classes conducted by Judy Loman and perform in a master class with Elizabeth Hainen.

Coach Harp Ensemble

Participants in the Professional Retreat have the option to coach a young harp quartet or trio in preparation for their recital. This is an optional element of the program.

Today's Harpist

In a world of social media, reality television, and self-promoting incentives at every turn, it is becoming increasingly difficult to decide how much or how little to engage with the wide range of promotional tools available. This seminar suggests how we can find a balance.


Exploration of the Salzedo Archive Collection

Participants will have exclusive access to the Salzedo Archive Collection during an informative private tour of the Curtis Institute of Music.

Audit a master class

Any harpist may participate as an auditor. No audio submission is necessary. Choose to audit one master class or several master classes.