Every summer the American Harp Society hosts national gatherings. The National Conference, held in even-numbered years, features concerts by brilliant artists from around the world, workshops on wide-ranging topics, master classes with world-class teachers, and scholarly lectures to feed your intellectual soul, as well as an exhibit hall with a dizzying array of harps and related items. 

The Summer Institute, held in odd-numbered years, focuses on the student harpist with workshops, master classes, and concerts by the best performers and pedagogues in the world.  The Summer Institute is held in conjunction with AHS National Competition, where dazzling young harpists compete for awards and scholarships.

Members are invited to take advantage of these incomparable educational and networking opportunities. 

2018 43rd American Harp Society, Inc. National Conference

June 27-30, 2018
The University of Redlands
Redlands, California

The University of Redlands is a private school located halfway between Los Angeles and Palm Springs, California, with mountains, cities, deserts and beaches nearby. The University of Redlands School of Music is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Music.  The School of Music has significant experience hosting large instrument society conferences, including the 2013 International Double Reed Society Conference with over 1,000 in attendance, and the 2014 Southwest Regional Tuba-Euphonium Conference. They will also host the 2017 International Trombone Festival.

Proposals are being accepted through April 30, 2017 for workshops, performances and scholarly lectures at the 2018 National Conference. Please visit http://harpsociety.org/ConferenceInstitute/CallForProposals.asp for more information and to submit your proposal.

The 2018 theme is “Back to Our Future”, spotlighting the three tenets of the AHS mission statement:  celebrating our legacy, inspiring excellence, and empowering the next generation of harpists.  They also hope to reflect the Latin influences of southern California and as well as the Hollywood musical scene.

In particular, the Host Committee is particularly interested in receiving proposals centered on youth and encouraging harp study; harp in the schools programs; out-of-the-box careers for harpists; the scoop on the “Hollywood scene”, such as scoring for harp and recording sessions.  Concerts anticipated include noon time pop up’s; unusual chamber music pairings with harp; original harp quartets from the last 10-15 years; legacy pieces (both solo and chamber) originally commissioned by the Northern California Harp Association; and legacy and contemporary concerti.

2019 13th American Harp Society, Inc. Summer Institute

June, 2019
University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Winston-Salem, NC


Destination Innovation: Propelling Harpists into the Future.

The state of North Carolina is known for being FIRST IN FLIGHT since the Wright Brothers piloted the first powered airplane in 1903 at Kitty Hawk, NC. With the idea of "taking flight", the host committee plans to "propel" the harpist and the teacher forward with advanced ideas, creative concepts, and greater knowledge of our craft. Through masterclasses, workshops, concerts, and a composition contest, the Institute will highlight past and present innovators of the harp to inspire future innovation. Concerts will feature repertoire performed by professional and accomplished student harpists, as well as potentially headline acclaimed North Carolina-based composers, such as Dan Locklair, Terry Mizesko, and Stephen Jaffe.

The University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) is America's first state supported public university of arts conservatories. It is one university with five conservatories: School of Music, School of Dance, School of Filmmaking, School of Design and Production, and School of Drama. With an internationally renowned faculty, UNCSA trains students at the high school, undergraduate and master's levels for professional careers in the arts. The School of Music also collaborates with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in New York City to form the Chrysalis Chamber Music Institute at UNCSA, giving graduate students important opportunities to collaborate artistically.

UNCSA is a safe and friendly conservatory campus, which offers a wide variety of spaces and facilities to host the American Harp Society (AHS) 2019 Summer Institute and Competition. We boast two dedicated music buildings situated next door to each other. Both buildings are easily accessible for the loading/unloading of harps, one located all on one floor and the other with two floors accessible by elevator.

North Carolina has a rich performing arts heritage and home to many respected professional arts organizations, including the North Carolina Symphony, Charlotte Symphony, Brevard Music Festival, Eastern Music Festival, North Carolina Opera, Carolina Ballet and the internationally respected University of North Carolina School of the Arts, which all play a vital role in educating our talented youth while inspiring our community. The state has also produced some of the world’s talented musicians, representing all genres of music, including Doc Watson, Nina Simone, The Krugar Brothers, James Taylor, The Avett Brothers, Emmylou Harris, Etta Baker, Ben Folds, Roberta Flack, and Jeremy Denk.

Located in the foothill region of central North Carolina, the city of Winston-Salem, NC (City of Arts & Innovation) has an unparalleled dedication to the fine arts, theatre, and technological research. "A charming southern getaway," Winston-Salem is the fifth largest city in the state and offers a plethora of museums, historical sites, cutting edge restaurants, wonderful hotels, bed & breakfasts, and the world-class medical facilities of Wake Forest Medical Center and Baptist Hospital. In fact, the very first Arts Council in the United States was established in Winston-Salem in 1949.

In 2012, Winston-Salem was listed among the ten best places to retire in the United States by CBS MoneyWatch. The city of Winston-Salem is surrounded by more than 45 award-winning wineries within an hour's drive. The majestic Blue Ridge Mountains are a mere 1.5 hours to the west, where you can climb Mt. Mitchell, the highest peak on the eastern seaboard, or hike Linville Gorge, the deepest gorge east of the Grand Canyon. If you travel 3 hours east, you will be on the white, sandy beaches of the Atlantic Ocean, at places like Nags Head, Kitty Hawk and Wrightsville Beach.

2017 12th American Harp Society, Inc. Summer Institute

Sunday, June 25 – Wednesday, June 28, 2017
St. Olaf College, Northfield, MN


The 2017 AHS Institute and Competition was held on the campus of St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, located just 30 minutes south of Minneapolis International Airport.  AHS is grateful for the invitation of the Minnesota Chapter, and the leadership of Co-chairs Kathy Kienzle and Elinor Niemisto, and Assistant Chair Ann Benjamin.

Northfield is a historic river town of 20,000 in the southeast part of Minnesota, just 30 miles from the Twin Cities and Minneapolis/St. Paul (MSP) international airport. Downtown Northfield, within walking distance of campus, has been restored to recall the 19th century and features coffeehouses, sandwich shops, restaurants, gift stores, and local art galleries.  

The National Competition and several concerts were livestreamed for the first time during the Summer Institute. The concerts remain available for viewing online now. The full Institute program book and schedule are available at the Past Summer Institutes link.