Magazine article American Harp Journal

The University of North Texas Receives Historic Harps

Magazine article American Harp Journal

The University of North Texas Receives Historic Harps

Article excerpt

Editor's note: This article marks the second installment of our new column highlighting the activities of our colleges and universities. It first appeared in the November 2014 issue of the Bulletin of The Historical Harp Society, Vol. XXIV, No. 3. Reprinted with permission. www.historicalharpsociety.org

THE University of North Texas (UNT) harp studio, under the direction of Dr. Jaymee Haefner, has recently received a donation of four historic harps from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. UNT alumnus David Williams (M.M., 1976) donated the harps in May of 2014. David recently retired from his positions of principal harpist with the Dallas Opera and the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, which he had held since 1989. He had also served as second harpist for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. David received his B.M. in 1971 from SMU, studying with Julia Hermann. He studied with Charles Kleinsteuber while working toward his M.M. at UNT. David also studied privately with Dorothy Lymann.

David, who is also a harp builder and technician, acquired and restored the historic harps himself, which included wood work, gilding, painting, and rebuilding of the actions.

The four harps span much of the pedal harp's development and history. The oldest harp, a single action crochet harp, was made by Jean Henri Naderman (1735 - 1799) in Paris, and dates from c.1770. The second-oldest harp is also a crochet harp made by Naderman, and dates from c.1780. This harp has a hand-painted soundboard with chinoiserie motifs and is gilded with 24K gold. These ornate single-action crochet harps represent the style of harp that would have been familiar to Mozart and Marie Antoinette. The third harp dates from 1816, and is a ram's head single action made by Sebastian Erard (1752 - 1831) in Paris. …

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