Arianna Harp Duo

Kerstin Allvin and Jung Wha Lee, Harpists

Kerstin Allvin and Jung Wha Lee met as harp performance majors at Indiana University and became fast friends and concert performance partners. After completing their undergraduate degrees at IU, Jung Wha received her Artist Diploma from the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia and Kerstin received her Master of Music Degree from the University of Michigan. They were reunited in Paris as they continued their graduate studies with Jacqueline Borot, Honorary Professor of the Paris National Superior Conservatory of Music. The two harpists have had international careers as soloists, as orchestra members, and have performed many times in the US and Europe as the Arianna Harp Duo. Most recently, Miss Lee and Miss Allvin performed together at the Prefaille Chamber Music Festival in France, concerts in Michigan and premiered James Hartway’s Island Dances with the Warren Symphony in 2008.

In recent years, Jung Wha has concertized extensively throughout the United States and Europe not only performing solo recitals but also playing, touring and recording with the Paris Orchestra, the National Orchestra of France and the Luxembourg Orchestra. She has performed for such prestigious music festivals as the Evian, Nantua, Avignon, Nantes, Saint-Nazaire , and Prades. Jung Wha teaches private lessons and master classes in France where she lives, and also frequently travels to her native Korea to teach and concertize.

Kerstin was guest Principal Harpist with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra on their latest European tour. She was voted “Best Classical Instrumentalist” by the Detroit Music Awards. Her CD entitled, “An Affair of the Harp,” contains the solo and chamber music of composer James Hartway receiving Detroit Music Award’s “Outstanding Classical Recording” in 2005.

In June 2009 her recording of “La Jardin Mouille” for the POLYMNIE label was voted the top #1 piece broadcast by Radio Classique France for 4 consecutive weeks. She has recorded with Stevie Wonder, Oleta Adams and R. Kelly and performed with Josh Groben, Natalie Cole, The Three Tenors and many others. Kerstin Allvin has received her Registered Yoga Teacher certification from National Yoga Alliance and has given lectures in breathing techniques, body awareness and yoga to creative arts majors in universities and high schools throughout Metro Detroit. She teaches harp at Oakland University and the Cranbrook Educational Community.


Chamber Concert is a Charmer

Charleston Daily Mail
Review by Rick Justice, Daily Mail Music Critic

There was a lot to be excited about at Christ Church Methodist where Charleston Chamber Music Society presented one of the most charming concerts of the season.

Saturday evening’s performance was all that much more enjoyable because of long-awaited acoustic improvements of the sanctuary by church trustees. The results already are telling.
Kerstin Allvin and Jung Wha Lee as the Arianna Harp Duo, delighted an inquisitive audience of music lovers at a warm and “harp felt” evening of entertainment.

So inquisitive was the crowd, that when the two performers came to the stage during intermission to tune, they were mobbed by folks with questions. A mysterious instrument, the harp.
Josef Blanco’s Concierto No.1 was played as the evening opener and established without a doubt that Allvin and Lee are the fastest page turners in the history of music.

With both hands and feet committed to the playing of the instrument, it’s no wonder brevity of page turn is essential. They were so fast and smooth that it reminded you of a Michael Jordan slam dunk.

Two transcriptions from Claude Debussy’s “Petite Suite” had audience members hushed in their seats, as the delicate rippling waters of “en Bateau” were clearly enunciated throughout the hall.
“Cambria,” a three movement salon suite by John Thomas was a virtuosic tour de force filled with melodic skills and harp techniques that Arianna tossed off with precision and elan.

Paris harpist and leading composer Bernard Andres composed “Parvis” (Cortege et Danse) with all of the contemporary techniques and notation for harp available. Playing with fingertips, fingernails, knocking on the resonant wooden body of the instrument and using the wood end of the tuning hammer to strike and stroke the strings, they produced a cornucopia of diverse sonorities.

A transcription of George Gershwin’s Preludes No.2 and No.1 somehow managed to sound like selections from “Porgy and Bess.” Not bad, but lost in fast company.

Fast company was in the form of “Two Night’s in Spain” by James Hartway.

Dr. James Hartway is chairman of theory and composition at Wayne State University. He also is a teacher, composer and, as husband of harpist Allvin, totes the harps when the duo is on the road.
His composition is a mental music retrospect of nights in Barcelona, and so accurate is his recall that you are taken back with him.

All the stars were in alignment. A premium commissioned work specifically for Arianna, it was played in a manner that riveted your attention to the players and music and a hall that allowed every note to sing its special song.

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  • Random Quote

    …maintains a spirited drive…pleasant expression, delicacy and a considered sense of coloration…

    — The Herald, Monterey, California