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USA International Harp Competition gold medalist announced at IU Jacobs School of Music

July 26, 2013

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- After traveling thousands of miles and memorizing over two hours of required repertoire, Remy van Kesteren of the Netherlands was named gold medalist at the ninth USA International Harp Competition -- hosted by the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music -- July 20 at the school's Musical Arts Center.

McDonald with van Kesteren

Gold medalist Remy van Kesteren with USA International Harp Competition founder Susann McDonald.

Print-Quality Photo

The competition opened July 10 with 43 harpists representing 18 countries.

Van Kesteren took the gold medal over two other finalists, Marta Marinelli of Italy and Jacobs School alumna Emily Levin of the United States, in front of a crowd of more than 1,400. The competitors were vying for more than $100,000 in cash and career assistance.

All three finalists presented solid performances of Carl Reinecke's Concerto in E Minor for Harp and Orchestra, which was performed with the Jacobs School of Music's Summer Festival Orchestra, conducted by David Effron.

Van Kesteren's first-place finish earned him an array of prizes, including a commemorative Lyon & Healy Gold Concert Grand Harp -- valued at $55,000 -- two debut recitals, a CD recording project and career promotion, all sponsored by Lyon & Healy Harps. He also received the $5,000 David and Linda Rollo Award, in memory of Mindee Rollo.

Other Prizewinners:

  • Fourth: Yu Ying Chen, China
  • Fifth: Emily Hoile, United Kingdom
  • Sixth: Joel von Lerber, Switzerland
  • Seventh: Gwenllian Llyr, United Kingdom (Wales)
  • Eighth: Alexandra Mullins, USA
  • Mario Falcao Prize for Best Performance of Carl Reinecke's Concerto in E Minor for Harp and Orchestra, Op. 182: Marta Marinelli, Italy
  • Willy Postma Prize for Best Performance of Attahir's De l'obsurite II: Remy van Kesteren, the Netherlands

The awards were announced by Jacobs School of Music Dean Gwyn Richards, and IU First Lady Laurie McRobbie served as the master of ceremonies.

Founded in 1989 by Distinguished Professor Susann McDonald, chair of the Jacobs School Harp Department, the USA International Harp Competition is held every three years.

At the age of 10, van Kesteren was admitted to the Conservatory of Utrecht in the class of Erika Waardenburg, where he graduated with highest distinction in 2010. He pursued his studies at the Conservatoire Supérieur de Musique de Paris, where he worked with the famous harpist Isabelle Moretti.

Van Kesteren has already received numerous awards, including the Elisabeth Everts Prize for exceptional young talent in the Netherlands. He has won first prizes at the Dutch Harp Competition and the Princess Christina Competition.

In 2008, he won third prize at the International Harp Competition in Moscow, and he won third prize at the International Harp Competition in Israel in 2009.