Gretchen Van Hoesen | harp
Gretchen Van Hoesen has been principal harpist of the Pittsburgh Symphony since 1977. She has appeared as soloist with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra on numerous occasions, both on the subscription series and on tour.. She has appeared as soloist with conductors André Previn, Lorin Maazel, James Conlon, Zdnek Macal, Sergiu Comissiona, Pinchas Zukerman and Manfred Honeck, and has collaborated with flutists James Galway, Bernard Goldberg, Jean-Pierre Rampal and Emmanuel Pahud.
Gretchen van Hoesen has performed as a soloist with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, the National Orchestral Association, the Greenwich Philharmonia and the Westmoreland Symphony. She has concertized in the metropolitan New York area at Carnegie Recital Hall, Alice Tully Hall and the Brooklyn Museum, and has been a recitalist throughout the Pittsburgh are. She has held the position of principal harp in the New York Lyric Opera, the New York City Ballet, the National Orchestral Association, the Greenwich Philharmonia, the Pittsburgh Opera and the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, the Lake Placid Sinfonietta, the Spoleto Festival Orchestra (Italy), the Virginia Opera, the Sun Valley Music Festival and the Jeunesses Musicales Orchestra (Germany). Van Hoesen was selected to perform in Tokyo and Osaka, Japan, in the Super World Orchestra 2000, an orchestra made up of key musicians from around the globe. She has frequently served as a judge for National Competitions of the American Harp Society and is currently the president of the organization’s Pittsburgh Chapter. Van Hoesen served as a coach for the 2015 National Youth Orchestra of the United States and was selected as the inaugural Harp Forum editor for the American String Teacher and harp master class clinician at the ASTA National Conference in 2016.
Van Hoesen gave the New York premiere of the Alberto Ginastera Harp Concerto in 1976 and the Pittsburgh premiere in 1978. Additional appearances with the Pittsburgh Symphony have included performances of the Handel Concerto in B flat, Danses Sacré et Profane by Debussy, Concierto Serenata by Joaquin Rodrigo and the Concerto for Harp by Rheinhold Gliere; the Pittsburgh premiere of Witold Lutoslawski’s Double Concerto for Oboe, Harp and Chamber Orchestra; the world premiere of Sir André Previn’s Concerto for Harp; and the North American premiere of Concert Piece, Op. 65 for Oboe/English horn, Two Harps and Orchestra by Eugene Goossens.
Gretchen van Hoesen’s recordings include the 1985 “Lullabies and Night Songs” on the Caedmon label; performances issued on Boston Records include the critically-acclaimed “Pavanes, Pastorales, and Serenades for Oboe and Harp,” and “Concertos for Harp and Orchestra,” with conductor Rossen Milanov and the New Symphony Orchestra. Recent recordings include Trio Pittsburgh with Noah Bendix-Balgley and Anne Martindale Williams, “Genetic Harps” with her daughter Heidi Van Hoesen Gorton and “Romances for Violin and Harp” with former Pittsburgh Symphony concertmaster Andres Cardenes.
Van Hoesen is a faculty member at Carnegie Mellon and Duquesne universities and has given master classes and been an artist-lecturer around the world. Her students have won numerous national and international awards and prizes. Van Hoesen graduated from The Juilliard School of Music earning both B.M. and M.M. degrees in harp as a scholarship student of Marcel Grandjany and Susann McDonald. She is also a graduate of the Eastman School of Music Preparatory Department with highest honors in piano and harp, where she was a student of Eileen Malone. She further studied with Gloria Agostini.