Elizabeth Huston

Elizabeth HustonElizabeth Huston is a Los Angeles and Philadelphia based harpist committed to promoting works by living composers and exploring new ways to perform music. Elizabeth Huston has been fascinated by contemporary art since she can remember. She grew up on Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula, a surprisingly culturally active area. The daughter of two professional musicians, she watched in awe as her parents organized incredible events. They were also the founders of the first-ever youth symphony in their town, and a teenage Elizabeth was often tasked with administrative duties including mailing marketing flyers, making copies, organizing refreshments, and creating room schedules.
After completing her bachelor’s degree in 2009, Elizabeth decided to attend Temple University and became serious about her mission to educate composers about the harp to ensure new, interesting works were beingElizabeth Huston created. Elizabeth arrived in Philadelphia in the summer of 2010. Here she met an art patron merely by chance. He invited Elizabeth to attend the many Philadelphia Fringe Festival performances that he was interested in. She saw performances by Pig Iron Theater and Lucinda Childs Dance, among many others, which showed how projection, costuming, lighting, and staging can change how you interact with performance. Elizabeth immediately began to think about how what she had seen could be applied to music performance, with its traditionally stuffy and plain staging.
In 2012 she created A Change of Harp and launched her first concert series which explored what composers saw inside their heads as they wrote. Elizabeth interviewed six local composers about six pieces for solo harp and created visual accompaniments for each piece based on what they had said. This resulted in a performance of dance, projection, theater, and harp Elizabeth Hustonwhich took place during the Fringe Festival: the festival which had so inspired her. The success of this performance made Elizabeth understand that she had touched on a need in the community, and she began exploring other performance styles, putting together multi-media solo harp showcases all over the city.
Inspired by these pieces, Elizabeth started a workshop series teaching composers how to write for the harp in edgy, experimental, and daring ways. She also decided to explore Berio’s Sequenza for harp discovering that it is part of a beautiful and striking series that represents the composer’s entire life, development, and influences. Showcasing four hours of avant garde music in a way that made the audience not want to claw their ears off, and instead have a wonderfully memorable experience, became her mission. After attending Sleep No More in New York, she couldn’t believe how quickly three hours ofElizabeth Huston modern dance went by when you had the chance to explore, move, and choose what to do. She then applied this to 14 Sequenzas, giving the audience the option of moving from room to room, seeing as much or as little of the Sequenzas as they wanted.
She also created theatrical sets for each piece, and hid letters from the composer talking about the pieces around the venue. In each set there were things to discover, rewarding those who were so bold as to look for them. The show was a success, and began the Composit series which resulted in 2016’s production of all 10 of Davidovsky’s Synchronisms, and which will include 2018’s production KLANG.

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