Classical:BTS Julia Kay Jamieson

For harpist, composer, and teacher Julia Kay Jamieson, music has always been an integral part of her life. "Music is like a first language - it's how I say how I’m feeling." Her diverse collection of harps and approach to classical music are not necessarily what we expect when we think harps – and the people who play them. Learn more about Julia Kay Jamieson online at

AIRED: May 10, 2018 | 0:03:04


I was introduced to the harp at a wedding,

I heard it played at a wedding

and it was so big and weird to me

that I thought, oh, this is cool I have to

do that, and so I marched up to the bride

- who was the harpist - and asked her for harp lessons.

There wasn't really a point when

I knew like this was what I wanted

to do. I always knew it was sort of expected.

Everybody was, Oh, Julia is gonna be a harpist.

You know, in grad school,

I sort of found my own voice,

became more confident and I could really

play a lot of notes at once since I

started experimenting with playing the

kind of music that I wanted to play.

Like one of the first pieces that I arranged

was Michael Jackson's "Thriller" and I

decided to do it for four harps.

From there I arranged a ton of popular pieces

for harp quartet, but then after a while

I decided to start writing my own original

stuff and I use experimental sounds, and

you can put an alligator clip onto a

harp string and flick it and it

vibrates and tremeloes, or you can pluck

the string with an alligator clip on it

and it sounds like a old clock. Go to a

hardware store and pick up anything that

looks neat and try it on a harp.

Growing up with a piano teacher mom, I just,

it's in me. It feels really good to

share that, and I try to, you know, work

with my students in a way that I

was worked with when I started on the harp

to get them to remember that they're

an artist first. And I think it's important

for a kid to explore music. It's just

important to hear other people's voices

and, you know, have compassion for the

music and I think it will mean more and

more to you the more you listen to it.


Music is like a first language to me

it's really important to me

it's how I say what I'm thinking or how

I feel and it's abstract, which I think

is really important. I love the variety

of what I do. You know every day is a

little different, you know, one day I'm

playing Mozart with an orchestra, and the

next day I'm off to give a concert

playing my own arrangements of jazz

pieces and yeah. It's a good life.

I'm Julia Kay Jamieson. I'm a harpist, composer,

and teacher.



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