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Feature Harpist

Deborah Henson-Conant
Arlington, Massachusetts 02474
United States
Metro Area: Arlington
Booking and Information
Telephone: 781-483-3556
Fax: 781-483-3987
Email: info@hipharp.com
Website: www.hipharp.com
Mention ref. HarpGigs

Genres:

  • Jazz

  • Pop

  • Comedy

  • Folk

  • Blues

  • Flamenco

  • Celtic

Categories:

Harpist, Singer, Entertainer, Songwriter, Composer, Arranger

Harps:

Celtic, Electric, Pedal

Desired Events:

  • Concert Series

  • Corporate Events

  • Orchestral Work

  • Solo Concerts

Performing Since:

1981

Description:

Doc Severinson calls her the "wild woman" of the harp, and she's changing the way the world sees this ancient instrument. To describe Deborah Henson-Conant is nearly impossible, but she calls her music "cross-genre": jazz-pop-comedy-folk-blues-flamenco-celtic, and she is as much an entertainer as a musician.

She performs in symphony halls as a soloist with  major orchestras, and she plays intimate shows in jazz clubs and theaters nationwide. She has toured with the Boston Pops, opened for Ray Charles at Tanglewood, played backstage duets with Aerosmith's Steven Tyler, starred in the PBS special, "Celtic Harpestry," played at the SuperBowl (harp, that is), has been featured on NBC, CBS, CNN, NPR, and hosted TV shows for BET and BBC affiliates.

Biography:

Deborah Henson-Conant started improvising when she was three. She hated music lessons, and refused to practice the classics. She'd sit all day singing and improvising jazzy piano pieces and composing musical theatre until her parents started to worry. They tried every instrument they could think of, sure that one of them would inspire some 'serious' study. When they brought a harp home, the twelve-year-old took one look at it, said "This is a sissy instrument," and went back to the piano. Six years later she changed her mind, and in college she got 'serious' about the harp, practicing long hours, performing with symphony orchestras and taking auditions. To make a living, she played in restaurants all over the San Francisco Bay area, New York City and finally in Boston.

In 1981, her lifelong interest in improvisation found an outlet through jazz. She studied and performed standard bebop and blues and in 1983 formed her first band, The Jazz Harp Trio.

As a composer, she received grants and commissions for her many projects, including a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Grant, the Massachusetts Artists Fellowship and "Meet the Composer" Grant.

Deborah signed a three-year recording contract with GRP Records in 1988 and then went on to record five independent CDs in Hungary, Germany and the United States.

As a composer/performer, Deborah collaborated on several artistic projects. In '94, she presented a choreographed version of her suite, Stress Analysis of a Strapless Evening Gown in Boston and premiered her Jazz Suite with members of the Scottish National Chamber Orchestra. In '95, Deborah was featured artist and composer with the Boston Pops and the Pittsburgh Pops. The following year, she toured with Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra performing her own compositions, shared the stage with jazz legends Airto Moreira and Flora Purim, jammed in concert with Doc Severinson, lectured at the Paris Conservatory, toured Europe, and premiered her Christmas Suite, "A Season of Celebration," with the New England String Ensemble.

'96 was also an exciting year for Deborah in the media which included profiles of her on National Public Radio's "Weekend Edition Saturday," CBS "Sunday Morning" and NBC's "Today" Show.

First and foremost an entertainer, Deborah is a prolific cartoonist, author of short stories, operettas, plays, musical theater pieces and screenplays -- some of which have been published or produced and others of which are safely tucked away in a large drawer. Deborah is also the curator, founder and primary artistic contributor of/to the Museum of Burnt Food.

With 11 albums under her belt, her solo CD, "Alter Ego," is a mixture of Henson-Conant's vast musical influences: theater, folk, jazz, funk, pop, blues, comedy, flamenco, calypso, and classical music. "Alter Ego" was created as a personal project and a work-in-progress, with a limited first edition of 2,000 individually signed and numbered CDs. The 2nd edition (Altered Ego) was released on June 1, 1998.

Throughout '98, Deborah performed in solo shows throughout the United States and Europe and featured as guest soloist with the Phoenix Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, and the World Harp congress in Prague, as well as Celtic harp festivals in Dinan and Lorient, France.

"If you have preconceived notions of what a jazz harpist looks and sounds like, throw them out the window. Henson-Conant is a real show-woman...In her hands, the jazz harp is a distant relation to its classical cousin." (Robert Goldblum, NIGHT MOVES)

Link to my Website:

http://www.hipharp.com

 

 
 
Photo Gallery
 
 
Reviews
 
"...plays the harp like a dream, sings and plays the blues with deep spirituality, expressiveness and harmonic sense matched by few performers today...spine tingling!"
The Buffalo News

"...a combination of Leonard Bernstein, Steven Tyler, and Xena the Warrior Princess..."
Ed Siegel, The Boston Globe

"...does for the harp what Elvis and Chuck Berry did for the guitar."
Denver Post

"Remarkable"
Joseph McAllen, Washington Post

"Set the crowd afire"
Philip Elwood, San Fransisco Examiner

"She sings like Aretha Franklin"
Kieler Nachrichten, Germany

"Deborah Henson-Conant - a performance artist to say the least - stole the show...immediately mesmerized the audience and established Henson-Conant's extreme skill as an entertainer."
Jeff Manookian, The Salt Lake Tribune

She may look like an angel, but she plays devilishly well!"
Joan Rivers

"... an unlikely combination of harp playing, gorgeous jazz/pop singing, comic timing and impressive songwriting. She can do something you don't expect at a pops concert, and that is touch you."
Austin American-Statesman

"... as she caresses the harp, and even dances with it, her gorgeous storytelling is as theatrical as it is musical."
Ed Siegel - The Boston Globe

She does something for the instrument just by standing next to it."
Edingburg Evening News

 
Recordings
 
The Frog Princess
 
The Celtic Album
 
Altered Ego
 
Just For You
 
Round The Corner
 
Budapest
 
Talking Hands
 
Caught In The Act
 
Songs My Mother Sang
 
The Gift
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