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New York, New York


A New York harpist trying to figure things out - and the mishaps and adventures that inevitably ensue.

Harpist of the Month of July, Caroline Reyes!

Kathryn Sloat

Caroline Reyes is a recent graduate of the Eastman School of Music, where she received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in harp performance, as well as a master’s in ethnomusicology. Besides being a fantastic performer and harp teacher, Caroline is a scholar and an active gamelan musician. 

imageFeminist Theory and Music Conference this week (Okay, A. Why didn’t I know about this conference and B. Why am I not going??). I’m sure I’m not the only one who would love to read this paper!

Besides being a harpist and musicologist, Caroline is also a teacher. She holds the position of harp professor at Roberts Wesleyan College and is looking to start her own private studio. When I asked her what inspired her passion for teaching, she said, “Actually it’s funny, throughout my undergrad, I thought I never wanted to teach. But then, when I took Professor Bride’s pedagogy course, everything changed. I had this great relationship with my student and he did really well, and I thought oh my gosh, I’m actually pretty good at this!” Ms. Bride (our harp teacher) obviously thought so too, as she recommended Caroline for the job at Roberts Wesleyan after she had graduated with her bachelor’s degree. 

Earlier this summer, Caroline played in the American Harp Society’s National Competition. Although she had never applied before (and had actually never performed for a competition before), she made it into the final round, which is super impressive! I asked her how she prepared herself for the competition. She said she had everything ready a few months before the tape was due so that she had time to polish everything, which she said really helped. This also enabled her to take her time recording, and to make sure that she had really good tapes. When she got to the competition itself, she said, she didn’t do too much playing beforehand, but kept herself relaxed and spent time with her family. “I tried to take it easy, to save my energy!”

I explained to Caroline about my competition misgivings - I don’t really feel myself to be cut out for it, and every time I try for a concerto competition, I play miserably. She answered, “I used to feel the same way. But it was a really great experience, and what it’s good for is pushing yourself to really perfect pieces. I think that, for me at least, I would get things to the point where I was happy with them, but the idea of learning something so well that you can play through it without any mistakes is another level. I think that pushing yourself to that level is just good for you as a musician." 

Some of Caroline’s future plans include starting a private studio, continuing her teaching position at Roberts Wesleyan, and performing for the Rochester Fringe Festival. 


Image Credit: Allie Hartley

Caroline is collaborating with local artist Allie Hartley for the concert, which has a theme of dreams and nightmares. Some of the pieces on the program will be Tournier’s Clair de Lune and Eternal Dreamer, as well as a piece by an Australian composer, called Chamber of Horrors. The concert will be free, so if you’re in the area, you should check it out! Thanks for talking to me, Caroline!