USA International Harp Competition, Inc.

Announcing the winners!

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Susann McDonald

Founder and Artistic Director

The USA International Harp Competition, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non profit organization. Contributions to the USAIHC are tax deductible under current USA laws.

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12th Competition contestants, jury and speakers at the

Opening Ceremony

The Final Stage of the 12th USA International Harp Competition took place last night with the three finalists performing with the IU Jacobs School of Music Summer Philharmonic, conductor Brian Eads. The Awards Ceremony followed the performance and the eight prize winners were announced:

Gold Medal - Noël Wan (Taiwan)

Silver Medal - Huw Boucher (Wales)

Bronze Medal - Hyejin Kim (South Korea)

Fourth Prize - Noelia Cotuna Rizea (Spain)

Fifth Prize - Johanna Dorothea Goerissen (Germany)

Sixth Prize - Mared Pugh-Evans (Wales)

Seventh Prize - Chenyang Jing (Japan)

Eighth Prize - Jae In Yoo (South Korea)

Special prizes

Mario Falcao prize for the best performance of A. Schwartz: self - Noël Wan

Willy Postma prize for the best performance of G. Pierné: Concertstück, Op. 39 - Huw Boucher

Congratulations, and thank you to all our contestants for participating in the 12th USA International Harp Competition.

Visit our website for more details of the prizes and contestants.

Gold Medal - Noël Wan

Taiwanese-American harpist, educator, and scholar Dr. Noël Wan (1994) collaborates with her instrument to explore convergences between body, identity, and space. Her performance and scholarly work is influenced by postmodern sonic & visual landscapes, feminist theory and ethics, critical race studies, and ecocriticism. 

She has contributed to The American Harp Journal, Harp Column, and The Collective, and her recent projects include: affect and the environment in the music of Toru Takemitsu and Zhou Long; new materialism and feminist phenomenology in Georges Aperghis's "Fidélité" (1982); and narratives of Blackness and love in Leo Brouwer's "El decamerón negro" (1981).Lauded as “a huge talent [with] hidden power and amazing maturity” (Bart van Oort), Dr. Wan made her international debut in 2010 performing Alberto Ginastera’s Harp Concerto with the Utrecht Conservatorium Orchestra. As a soloist and ensemble harpist, she has performed at the Concertgebouw, the Muziekgebouw, Eslite Hall, Carnegie Hall, Davies Symphony Hall, David Geffen Hall, Yellow Barn Summer Music Festival, and on NPO Radio 4’s "Spiegelzaal." She has worked with John Adams, Valery Gergiev, Eduardo Leandro, Anthony Marwood, John Myerscough, Peter Oundjian, Michael Tilson Thomas, and the Zohn Collective and has premiered works by Krists Auznieks, Daníel Bjarnason, Kyong-Mee Choi, David Feurzeig, Augusta Read Thomas, and Dmitry Tymoczko. Moreover, she can be heard on her debut solo album The Secret Garden (2010), Dmitri Tymoczko’s album Fools and Angels (2018, Panoramic/New Focus), and forthcoming recordings of Tymoczko’s Lead Sheet (2019) and John Liberatore’s Hold Back Thy Hours (2012).

An international prize-winning harpist, Dr. Wan is the youngest First Prize winner in the history of the Dutch Harp Festival Competition (now World Harp Competition); the only two-time harp recipient of the Chimei Arts Foundation Award (2012, 2015); and the only harpist to have won Grand Prize in the Carmel Music Society Instrumental Competition (2014) and First Prize in the Pacific Musical Society Instrumental Competition (2009). She is also a 2019 Lyon and Healy Award laureate as well as a two-time semi-finalist of the prestigious International Harp Contest in Israel (2009, 2012). Other successes include top prizes in the 2021 Orford Music Award, the 2015 Korea International Harp Competition, the 2013 Nippon International Harp Competition, the 2008 Lily Laskine International Harp Competition, and the American Harp Society National Competition (2005, 2007, 2009, 2015, 2019).

Dr. Wan is an alumna of the University of Illinois (BM, DMA)–where she was a 2016-2019 Illinois Distinguished Fellow–and the Yale School of Music (MM). She has given masterclasses in North America and Asia and has held teaching appointments at the University of Illinois, the University of Notre Dame, and Saint Mary’s College in South Bend, Indiana. From 2020, she served as Assistant Professor of Harp in Western University’s Don Wright Faculty of Music in London, Ontario, and was recently appointed as Assistant Professor of Harp and Entrepreneurship at Florida State University. Born in the San Francisco Bay Area, Dr. Wan has since called many other places “home”—Illinois, Connecticut, the Netherlands, and Taiwan and now lives in Tallahassee with her husband, conductor/composer Patrick Murray, and their tuxedo cat Georgina.

Silver Medal - Huw Boucher

Huw's interest in music became prevalent when he started studying piano at the age of 10. At age 11 he started studying the harp in the Junior department at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, with his principal teacher being Kathryn Rees. Subsequently he began studying the flute at the age of 12 and by the age of 13 he achieved ARRSM Grade 8 distinction in all three instruments. 

Huw was the winner of the National Eisteddfod from 2016-2019 and in 2017 he was awarded the coveted Blue Ribbon in the National Eisteddfod, where he obtained a £1000 scholarship. He was a finalist on two occasions in the Gregynog National young musician of Great Britain (2018-2019) where he was awarded a £500 scholarship. Furthermore, in 2018 Huw successfully gained a position in the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain. He then had the opportunity to perform in the BBC Proms with the National Youth Orchestra in 2019 which was held in the Royal Albert Hall. In 2020 Huw was a strings finalist in the BBC Young Musician which was broadcasted on national television, with him being the only harpist to be chosen to compete in the strings final in this highly competitive field. In 2021 Huw was accepted into the Royal Academy of Music with a full scholarship. He was additionally awarded the prestigious ABRSM Scholarship to support his studies, being one of only two other recipients. The young musician now studies with the infamous Skaila Kanga in a thriving harp department at one of the world's leading conservatoires.

Bronze Medal - Hyejin Kim 

Harpist Hyejin Kim, began playing the harp at the age of six and discovered her passion for the harp through Sophia Steckeler in Germany when she was eight. Hyejin studied at Yewon School and later at Seoul Arts High School in South Korea.

A few years later, she chose to pursue her studies in France at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et Danse de Lyon, where she has been studying since 2017 with Fabrice Pierre and his teaching assistants Sylvain Blassel and Park Stickney. 

She is a laureate of International Competitions. In 2012, at the age of 11, she has won third prize at the Soka Nippon International Harp Competition in Japan. In 2014, at the age of 13, she has won first prize at the Lily Laskine International Harp Competition in Paris. In 2016, at the age of 15, she has won second prize (under 25 division) - the first place being unassigned - with a special prize by the Budapest Symphony Orchestra MÁV at the International Harp Competition in Szeged, Hungary, and in 2019, first prize at the Berthold Hummel Competition in Würzburg. In South Korea, she has won many first prizes at various music competitions.

Hyejin is an active soloist and has been offered to make solo appearances on accompanied orchestral performances. At the age of 7, she performed the “Harp Concerto No.6 in B-flat Major” by G. F. Händel with the Korean Broadcasting System Symphony Orchestra in 2009. She also performed the “Concertino pour harpe et instruments à cordes” by Jean - Michel Damase with the Korea Telecom Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Mr. Taekju Lee in 2014, and “Concerto for Harp in A Major” by K. D. von Dittersdorf with the Yewon Orchestra under the direction of Mr. Jong-gi Lee in 2016. In 2018, she made a performance with the Budapest Symphony Orchestra MÁV by performing “Danse sacrée et danse profane” by Claude Debussy and “Introduction et Allegro” by Maurice Ravel in Vienna, Austria, and Budapest, Hungary.

Hyejin has also been invited to perform internationally as a soloist. She gave a recital at the “50th Gargilesse Summer Festival” in 2017. In 2016, she performed at “Stars of Tomorrow” Concert as part of the 10th USA International Harp Competition at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music. In 2021, she gave her solo recital at Kumho art hall as a Kumho Young Artist in Seoul, South Korea.

USA International Harp Competition, Inc. gratefully acknowledges our exclusive sponsors

Lyon & Healy Harps, Inc., and the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music

We look forward to sharing more USAIHC news on our website and on Facebook soon.

Thank you for your continued support and belief in the USA International Harp Competition's vision.