Vanessa Sheldon

“One of America’s most creative and dynamic young harpists,” Dr. Vanessa Sheldon holds a BM and MM in harp performance from the California State University Los Angeles, where she was named the CSU system’s youngest to receive a graduate degree. She earned a Doctorate of Musical Arts in harp and musicology from the University of Arizona, where she was the Graduate Teaching Assistant to Dr. Carrol McLaughlin and assistant director of the world-renown HarpFusion. She has also been honored as the University of Arizona’s youngest doctoral graduate, receiving her degree at age 19. Highlights of her international tours include concerts in Shanghai, Seoul, Madrid and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. In addition to playing for such notables as Oprah Winfrey, Maya Angelou, Tippi Hedren, Barbara Sinatra, and Florence Henderson, she has appeared as guest artist with world-renown cellists Michael Cameron and Masatoshi Mitsumoto, as well as the Anderson String Quartet and recently shared stages with Barry Manilow and Il Divo.
Concertizing locally and internationally as well as providing harp and piano entertainment for select public and private events, Dr. Sheldon specializes in composing and transcribing virtuosic as well as non-traditional music for harp in addition to premiering new works for her instrument. With a solid background in Classical music, Dr. Sheldon’s mastery of harp technique and artistic vision allows her to perform a variety of music spanning Celtic, Latin, pop, jazz, and rock genres. Enjoying the challenge of reinventing music for harp, her interpretations encompass such diverse artists as Frank Sinatra, The Beatles, and Adele, jazz standards including Harlem Nocturne and In the Mood, show tunes, ragtime, and even legendary rock anthems such as Stairway to Heaven. Dr. Sheldon currently teaches music theory, piano and harp at Mt. San Jacinto College with campuses in San Jacinto (Hemet Valley) and Menifee (Temecula Valley), music history and harp at College of the Desert in Palm Desert and Indio, CA and with the Osher Institute of CSU San Bernardino, and offers private harp, piano, music history and theory instruction from her studio in Palm Springs, CA.

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