By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski
GSN Staff Writer
Longtime musician Adrienne Knauer is devoted to keeping the harp in the forefront of youngsters’ minds.
“I want to empower the next generation of harpists, through hosting master classes, concerts and events,” Knauer said.
She does that as the president of the American Harp Society’s Arizona chapter.
“I’m interested in building up the harp community here, too.”
Knauer is a longtime, multifaceted musician. Her father began teaching her piano at age 5 in Cortlandt Manor, New York. It took until she was 12 to practice without being bribed by her family.
She began studying flute at 8, and then the harp at 16.
“I have been playing piano and flute all my life,” she said. “My piano background helped me take off with the harp.”
A Realtor for Twins & Co. Realty, Knauer said with the harp it was love at first sight.
“It’s this weird instrument,” said Knauer, who earned a Master of Music in harp performance at Temple University in 2014. “I became obsessed with it. It’s a pain to move. It’s expensive. There’s every reason in the book why you shouldn’t play it.
“But you just kind of fall in love with it. I like that I could play it solo, too. The harp can act like a piano.”
In 2016, Knauer moved to Scottsdale with her boyfriend and collie mix dog, Abby. At Temple University, she was an academic intern under the guidance of Elizabeth Hainen, the Philadelphia Orchestra’s principal harpist.
While attending Temple University she was invited to perform with Curtis Institute’s Symphony Orchestra performing works from Wagner’s Ring Cycle.
Now, 20 years after her first piano lessons, she is continuing to make music relevant. Knauer plays the harp at weddings, restaurants and concert halls. She also does pop/covers concerts at places like Garage East in Gilbert.
“I consider my harp to be my side project,” she said. “I play wedding. That’s really grown since being out here. I teach about 10 students weekly in harp and piano lessons.”
There are more opportunities to play the harp now, then say, a few years ago. She suggests those who are interested in the harp visit the Phoenix Harp Center at 2700 N. Central Avenue, Suite LL150, Phoenix, or call 602-341-4277.
“Living in the city gives you more opportunities to play the harp,” she said.
Knauer said it’s hard not to fall in love with the harp. It’s more than an instrument; it’s a journey. “My harp is the child,” she said. “I can’t leave it in the car too long. There are restrictions where I can take it. It dictates the kind of house I can live in. I make sacrifices for it. It’s a high-maintenance instrument.”