Program Director Emily Levin
Emily Levin is the Principal Harpist with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and Bronze Medal Winner of the 9th USA International Harp Competition. Her playing has been praised for its “communicative, emotionally intense expression” (Jerusalem Post) and the Herald Times commended her “technical wizardry and artistic intuition.” As a soloist, orchestral musician, and chamber collaborator, Levin brings the harp to the forefront of a diverse musical spectrum, using her instrument to connect with all audiences. Website.
Freelance Recording Artist
Barbara Biggers has been described by reviewers as one who “plays with beauty and nuance” and “creates a luminous sound”. She has lived in Dallas, Texas for only a few years and since moving here she has played with the Dallas Symphony, Dallas Opera, Ft. Worth Symphony, Dallas Chamber Symphony, Oklahoma City Philharmonic, Dallas Wind Symphony, as well as many freelance groups in the area. Website.
Laura L. Brandenburg
Laura Logan Brandenburg has served on the Texas Christian University School of Music faculty since 2001, where she teaches harp and harp pedagogy, coaches the TCU Harp Ensemble and is Director of the TCU Summer Harp Workshop. In addition, she maintains an active pre-college studio through the TCU Music Prep Department, teaching students age five through young adult. Website.
Cheryl Losey Feder
Principal Harp: Buffalo Philharmonic
Detroit Harpist Cheryl Losey Feder has earned distinction as one of America’s leading young harpists, receiving national and international awards, and performing in diverse settings around the world. Top prizes she has received include the Alice Rosner Prize at the Munich International Competition, one of the world’s most prestigious music contests; First Prize and Grandjany Prize in the American Harp Society’s National Solo Competition; and First Prize in the American String Teacher’s Association National Solo Competition. Ms. Feder was also awarded John Ringling Towers Performing Artist Award from the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County in support of her debut solo album, A Story. While studying at the Cleveland Institute of Music, she was honored to receive the Presser Scholarship, the Institute’s highest award for undergraduates; the Jim Hall Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Achievement; and three times receive the Alice Chalifoux Harp Prize. In May 2008, she was appointed Principal Harp of the Sarasota Orchestra, a position she held until 2016 when she resigned to pursue a performance career. Website
Jaymee Haefner’s performances have been described by Daniel Buckley as possessing “an air of dreamy lyricism… interlocking melody lines with the deftness of a dancer’s footwork.” Joseph Gold wrote that her “subtlety of touch reminded [him] of the immortal Nicanor Zabaleta.” Jaymee has taught at the University of North Texas (UNT) since 2006 and was appointed as Director of Undergraduate Studies for the College of Music in 2010. Website
Naoko Nakamura, principal harpist of the Dallas Winds, joined the faculty of SMU Meadows School of the Arts Division of Music in fall 2013 as adjunct assistant professor of harp. Since 1998, she has maintained an active performing and teaching schedule (including conducting master classes) in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Her students have received top prizes at national and regional competitions including the American Harp Society National Competition. Website.
Dr. Karen Thomas
Karen Abrahamson Thomas has served as Adjunct Lecturer in Harp at Baylor University and Principal Harpist of the Waco Symphony since 2013. Recent concert appearances include soloing with the University of Maryland Symphony Orchestra in Ginastera’s Concerto for Harp, and collaborating with the Left Bank Quartet at the Library of Congress. Dr. Thomas has performed with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and served as Guest Principal Harp with the Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra, the Cleveland Pops Orchestra, the Allentown Symphony, and the Wheeling Philharmonic. Website.