Ruth Wickersham




Ruth Wickersham Papalia was introduced to the harp by Mildred Biehn Johnson, in Quakertown, PA, at the age of nine.  By the time she was in high school, Ruth was studying with Edna Phillips, First Harpist of the Philadelphia Orchestra.  She entered Oberlin Conservatory of Music, in Ohio, majoring in harp performance under Lucy Lewis.  During her college years she studied with Carlos Salzedo at the Summer Harp Colony of America in Camden, Maine.  Ruth was accepted at Curtis Institute of Music upon graduation from Oberlin, but chose instead to join the Angelaires Harp Quintet, managed by Columbia Artists.  She toured the US and Canada with this group for their two final seasons.  Ruth has been soloist with various orchestras and retired from the Cortland, NY, College Community Orchestra after 41 years.  In 2004, Ruth, Lucy Scandrett and Jan Bishop formed a trio named The Three of Harps which commissioned two pieces from the British composer Simon Proctor.  The Three of Harps has performed over 20 concerts together.

Ruth has been active in the American Harp Society at the national level since 1979.  Previous to that she was a co-founder and officer of the Central New York Chapter.  Ruth was appointed to fill a vacancy as a Regional Director on the Board of Directors, and was later named to the Executive Committee.  She has served as AHS Secretary, AHS Treasurer and Chairman of the Board of Directors.  She was on the founding committee of the AHS Foundation and served as its first Treasurer.  Ruth was responsible for writing a grant to fund the former Young Artist Program of the AHS.  As Rules Committee Chairman, she led the revision of the AHS Bylaws in 1998.  She has served on the American Harp Journal Board of Readers and as a judge for the AHS Competition.  Ruth and her husband, Dr. Anthony Papalia, a psychologist have written articles and presented workshops at National Conferences on topics such as Dealing with Performance Tension and Teaching Styles.  Ruth acknowledges the fine people who have served as her mentors and is a firm believer the AHS is a true ensemble of people sharing ideas, pursuing common goals and promoting the harp.