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Work Samples

Sonata for Harp by Paul Hindemith

Paul Hindemith (1895-1963) wrote his Sonata for Harp in 1939. Written in three movements (I. Mässig schnell II. Lebhaft III. Sehr langsam), it demonstrates a masterful understanding of the harp. It remains a staple of the harp repertoire and an excellent example of 20th century writing for the harp.

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About Jacqueline

Baltimore City

Jacqueline Pollauf's picture
Jacqueline Pollauf, harpist, has been praised for playing with “transcendent ability” (The Sybaritic Singer) and “most satisfying elegance” (The Toledo Blade). Highlights of the 2019-2020 season will include a solo recital at the National Gallery of Art in Washington D. C. and the release of Beau Soir, an album of cello and harp music with Dariusz Skoraczewski. Past performances include the premiere of a new work for harp and voice at Carnegie Hall, and appearances at the Eleventh World Harp Congress... more

Original Works for Harp

Since the harp is an instrument a bit outside of the mainstream, the repertoire written for the instrument is relatively small and many major composers simply didn't write any solo or chamber music for the harp. However, there are still many beautiful pieces written for the harp and here you can hear a few of these exquisitely crafted pieces that explore the instrument in different ways.

  • Performance at Carnegie Hall

    Performance at Carnegie Hall, New York, New York.
  • Introduction et Allegro by Maurice Ravel

    Maurice Ravel's (1875-1937) Introduction et Allegro for harp accompanied by flute, clarinet and string quartet is a beautiful gem. This piece showcases the harp through multiple solo sections and a lovely cadenza.
  • Dance of the Bull by R. Murray Schafer

    The Dance of the Bull comes from Canadian composer R. Murray Schafer's (b. 1933) larger suite, the Crown of Ariadne, based on the Greek myth of Thesus, Ariadne and the minotaur. The Dance of the Bull is an aggressive piece depicting the minatour full of fury, with brief moments when the light and airy gestures of Adriadne break through. Many percussive extended techniques are employed, including the xylophone effect, the thunder gliss, the extensive use of pedal slides, and scraping the strings with a coin.
  • Prayer by Sergiu Natra

    Sergiu Natra (b. 1924) is a Romanian-born composer who has resided in Israel for many years. He feels a strong affinity to the harp and has written an extensive amount of solo and chamber music for the harp. Prayer, from 1970, has been a required piece for several international harp competitions and remains popular among the harp community. It features Natra's signature style involving repeated motifs, alternating rhythmic and free sections, dissonant harmonies, and a wide variety of articulations.
  • Interlude from A Ceremony of Carols by Benjamin Britten

    Benjamin Britten (1913-1976) wrote A Ceremony of Carols for treble voices and harp in 1948. The work consists of many short pieces, and this interlude for solo harp comes at the center of the piece and echoes the a capella processional and recessional. Britten uses harmonics extensively throughout the piece, which gives it a sense of stillness.
  • In a Landscape by John Cage

    In a Landscape by John Cage (1912-1992) was written in 1948. He wrote the piece to be played on either solo piano or solo harp. It's a surprising piece as it's not nearly as experimental or avant-garde as one would expect from Cage. Instead, it bears a marked resemblance to Erik Satie's (1866-1925) music, and seems to suspend time.
  • Fontainebleau Suite: Palace Lake by Grace Becker Vamos

    Palace Lake is the first piece from the Fontainebleau Suite by Grace Becker Vamos (1898-1992). This little-known piece was written by American cellist and composer Grace Vamos and was most likely inspired by the time she spent studying at the Fontainebleau School of Music in France. Vamos performed in a flute, harp and cello trio and arranged much of the music for the group, which gave her a strong sense of the harp and its capabilites when composing for the instrument.
  • Fontainebleau Suite: Summer Night by Grace Becker Vamos,

    Summer Night is the second piece from the Fontainebleau Suite by Grace Becker Vamos (1898-1992). Although the entire work is most likely inspired by the time Vamos spent studying in France, this movement has more of an American blues feel to it.
  • Sonata for Harp by Paul Hindemith

    Paul Hindemith (1895-1963) wrote his Sonata for Harp in 1939. Written in three movements (I. Mässig schnell II. Lebhaft III. Sehr langsam), it demonstrates a masterful understanding of the harp. It remains a staple of the harp repertoire and an excellent example of 20th century writing for the harp.
  • Fontainebleau Suite: Forest by Grace Becker Vamos,

    Forest is the third piece from the Fontainebleau Suite by Grace Becker Vamos (1898-1992). Here Vamos emulates a style of composition similar to that of Marcel Tournier (1879-1951), writing a melody intertwined with the quick moving notes of the accompaniment.

Original Works for Harp (composed by harpists)

Many harpists end up composing for the harp themselves, and do so quite well as they understand the capabilities of the instrument, the resonance of different registers, and how best to write idiomatically for the harp. Not only do such compositions expand the repertoire of the harp, but they are also highly rewarding to play.

  • Performance in Columbia, Maryland

    Performance in Columbia, Maryland
    Jacqueline acknowledges applause after a performance in Columbia, Maryland.
  • The Minstrel's Adieu to His Native Land by John Thomas

    John Thomas (1826-1913) was a Welsh harpist and composer. The Minstrel's Adieu to His Native Land is one of his best-known works, a classic theme and variations, and it showcases many dramatic effects on the harp.
  • Aria in Classic Style by Marcel Grandjany

    Jason Kissel, organ; Jacqueline Pollauf, harp. Aria in Classic Style by Marcel Grandjany (1891-1975) is a beautiful piece for harp and organ. Grandjany was primarily a harpist, but also played some organ, which shows in his writing here. Grandjany blends the two instruments beautifully, so at times it is impossible to tell which instrument is which.
  • Danseuse à la fontaine by Marcel Tournier

    Marcel Tournier (1879-1951) was a harpist, teacher and composer. In addition to teaching at the Paris Conservatory for many years, he composed many exquisite works for the harp. Danseuse à la fontaine (Dancer at the Fountain) is a character sketch taken from his 3rd suite of Images, and creates an evocative world of sound.
  • Au Monastère by Alphonse Hasselmans

    Alphonse Hasselmans (1845-1912) was a Belgian-born harpist, teacher and composer who spent most of his life living and working in France. Perhaps best remembered for the many major 20th century harpists he trained, he also composed quite a few works for solo harp. Au Monastère (At a Monastery) is an excellent example of his ability to paint a picture with sound.
  • Performance in Baltimore, Maryland

    Performance in Baltimore, Maryland
    Jacqueline performs in Baltimore, Maryland.
  • Pistache by Bernard Andrès

    Pistache (Pistachio) by French harpist and composer Bernard Andrès (b. 1941) is a dramatic piece featuring many extended techniques on the harp. It's from a larger suite of pieces, called Èpices. It alternates between free and rhythmic sections.

Transcriptions for Harp

Much of the repertoire for the harp is made up of transcriptions, and there is a long tradition of harpist-composers transcribing to expand the repertoire. Most of the transcriptions in this section were done by Marcel Grandjany (1891-1975), whose transcriptions are so carefully conceived and executed that they feel as well-suited to the harp as his original compositions.

  • Performance at the Library of Congress

    Performance at the Library of Congress, Washington D. C.
  • Prélude in a minor by Maurice Ravel, transcribed by Carlos Salzedo

    This short prelude was written by Maurice Ravel (1875-1937) for the piano, as a sight-reading exam for pianists at the Paris Conservatoire. It was transcribed for the harp by harpist and composer Carlos Salzedo (1885-1961). As with many works by Ravel, the chromaticism makes it challenging to play on the harp.
  • Lotus Land by Cyril Scott, trans. Jacqueline Pollauf

    Lotus Land, by British composer Cyril Scott (1879-1970), is perhaps the best-known piece of Scott's more than four hundred works. Lotus Land was originally written for the piano, and I first encountered both the piece and the composer through my study of the piano. A few years ago I transcribed it for the harp, and much of the piece is beautifully suited for the instrument. The original score features two pentatonic glissandi which are completely idiomatic to the harp.
  • Largo from Violin Sonata no. 3 by J. S. Bach, transcribed by Marcel Grandjany

    Largo from J. S. Bach's (1685-1750) Violin Sonata no. 3, BWV 1005, is played on many instruments. The French Romantic composer, Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921) took the original solo violin piece and transcribed the work for solo piano. Marcel Grandjany (1891-1975) based this harp transcription on Saint-Saëns' work.
  • La Fille aux Cheveux de Lin by Claude Debussy, transcribed by Marcel Grandjany

    La Fille aux Cheveux de Lin (The Girl with the Flaxen Hair) by Claude Debussy (1862-1918) was originally written for solo piano, and has here been transcribed for harp by Marcel Grandjany (1891-1975). As with several of Debussy's solo piano works, harpists immediately saw possibilities for the harp and rushed to transcribe them.
  • Performance at Goucher College

    Performance at Goucher College, Baltimore, Maryland. Photo by Lawrence Sigel.
  • Pavane by Antoine Francisque, transcribed by Marcel Grandjany

    Pavane is taken from Antoine Francisque's (1575-1605) Le Tresor d'Orphée and was originally written for lute. Marcel Grandjany (1891-1975) came across the work and transcribed it for harp. Grandjany utilizes the low register of the harp throughout the piece, and builds upon the wash of sound this creates.
  • Andante from Violin Sonata no. 2 by J. S. Bach, transcribed by Marcel Grandjany

    Andante from Violin Sonata no. 2, BWV 1003, by J. S. Bach (1685-1750) was written for solo violin, and then transcribed for harp by Marcel Grandjany (1891-1975). In his transcription Grandjany filled out the piece, expanding Bach's sparse writing into full chords and adding a more definitive harmony.
  • Sacro Monte by Joaquín Turina, transcribed by Marcel Grandjany

    Marcel Grandjany's (1891-1975) transcription of Sacro Monte, by Joaquín Turina (1882-1949), shows his admirable abilities in transcribing, especially in the climax of the piece. Unfortunately Grandjany never published this particular transcription, so I have recreated it, using Grandjany's own recording of the piece as a reference.

Beau Soir Album

Cellist Dariusz Skoraczewski and I released an album of harp and cello music in 2019, called Beau Soir (Beautiful Evening) after the title track. Although it's a beautiful combination of instruments, there isn't much written for harp and cello, so we've transcribed and arranged almost all of the works ourselves. In this section you'll find a few highlights from the album.

  • Beau Soir CD Cover

    CD Cover for Beau Soir, 2019 album of cello and harp music by Dariusz Skoraczewski and Jacqueline Pollauf.
  • Beau Soir by Claude Debussy

    Dariusz Skoraczewski, cello, and Jacqueline Pollauf, harp, perform Beau Soir (Beautiful Evening), by Claude Debussy (1862-1918).
  • Romanian Folk Dances by Béla Bartók

    Dariusz Skoraczewski, cello, and Jacqueline Pollauf, harp, perform Romanian Folk Dances, written by the Hungarian composer Béla Bartók (1881 - 1945). It was originally written for solo piano and has since been transcribed for a variety of instruments. The movements are as follows: I. Stick Dance II. Sash Dance III. In One Spot IV. Dance from Bucsum V. Romanian Polka VI. Fast Dance
  • Clair de Lune by Claude Debussy

    Dariusz Skoraczewski, cello, and Jacqueline Pollauf, harp, perform Clair de Lune. Written by Claude Debussy (1862-1918) for solo piano originally, and many transcriptions exit. In this transcription the melody soars in the cello while the harp provides lush arpeggios and harmonies in support.
  • The Swan by Camille Saint-Saëns

    Dariusz Skoraczewski, cello and Jacqueline Pollauf, harp, perform Camille Saint-Saëns' (1835-1921) The Swan. Saint-Saëns wrote The Swan as part of his larger work, the Carnival of Animals. This is a classic work for harp and cello, giving both musicians room to explore the idiomatic qualities of their instruments.
  • Performance by Dariusz Skoraczewski and Jacqueline Pollauf

    Dariusz Skoraczewski and Jacqueline Pollauf perform on cello and harp.
  • Six Studies in English Folk Song by Ralph Vaughn Williams

    Dariusz Skoraczewski, cello, and Jacqueline Pollauf, harp, perform Six Studies in English Folk Song, originally written by Ralph Vaughn Williams (1872-1958) for cello and piano. Here it has been transcribed by Jacqueline Pollauf for cello and harp. It's a set of six short pieces, each with a slightly different feel. I. Adagio (Lovely on the Water) II. Adagio sostenuto (Spurn Point) III. Larghetto (Van Dieman's Land) IV. Lento (She Borrowed Some of her Mother's Gold) V. Andante tranquillo (The Lady and the Dragoon) VI. Allegro vivace (As I Walked Over London Bridge)
  • Fratres by Arvo Pärt

    Dariusz Skoraczewski, cello; and Jacqueline Pollauf, harp. Fratres was written by Estonian composer Arvo Pärt (b. 1935) in 1977. Pärt is considered a minimalist composer, and the entire piece is based on just a few bars of material. The piece exists in versions for many different combination of instruments. This version is most similar to the version for cello and piano. The lowest string of the harp is tuned a third lower than usual to approximate the range of the piano.
  • Back cover of Beau Soir

    The back cover of the 2019 album Beau Soir.

Songs and Dreams Album

In 2018 I released a new solo album, Songs and Dreams. I composed or transcribed all of the music on the album, making it a more intimate project than past albums. Here you'll find a few of the tracks, ranging from classical, to folk and jazz influenced music.

  • Album Cover of Songs and Dreams

    Cover for Jacqueline Pollauf's 2018 solo album, Songs and Dreams. Design by Aleona Pollauf.
  • Prelude no. 3 by George Gershwin, transcribed by Jacqueline Pollauf

    Prelude no. 3 is from George Gershwin's (1898-1937) Three Preludes for piano. I love this piece and was determined to play it on the harp, despite some obvious difficulties. Gershwin includes all kinds of chromaticism, including quick chromatic scales in the interior line of two of the sections, which are fiendishly difficult for the harp.
  • Can't Help Falling in Love, Peretti, Creatore, and Weiss, arranged by Jacqueline Pollauf

    This was written by a three-person song writing team, Peretti, Creatore, and Weiss, and first recorded and made famous by Elvis Presley. I didn’t want to change anything about the beautiful and memorable melody, so instead the piece builds through an increasingly complex accompaniment.
  • Rose Red written and performed by Jacqueline Pollauf

    Rose Red is based on a haunting melody from the Elizabethan era. The melody is frequently sung as a round, which is echoed in this piece by the melody layering upon itself intricately. There are various lyrics that have been paired with the melody over the centuries. I chose to name the piece after the lyrics I know best: Rose, rose, rose red, Shall I ever see thee wed? I will marry at thy will sire, At thy will.
  • Recording Session

    Working on a studio recording.
  • Sunrise written and performed by Jacqueline Pollauf

    Sunrise is an intertwining of two songs, the well-known You Are My Sunshine, and Colours, written by the British singer/songwriter Donovan in the 1960’s. I was working on an arrangement of each piece separately, and somehow they ended up weaving their way together. For many of the transitions in the piece, the two melodies join seamlessly together. In the end, I came up with a title that melds lyrics from both pieces as well.
  • Liten Visa Till Karin by Staffan Linton, arranged by Jacqueline Pollauf

    Liten Visa Till Karin (A Little Song for Karin) is based on a piece by Swedish jazz pianist Staffan Litton. I love to listen to jazz, and was drawn to the richness of Linton’s harmonies. This arrangement is certainly far removed from the original jazz chart, but hopefully in a way that blends the resonance of the harp with the core of Linton's work.
  • Songs and Dreams CD Back Cover

    The back cover of the 2018 album Songs and Dreams

Trio Sirènes

I perform regularly with Trio Sirènes, alongside Marcia McHugh, flute and Karin Brown, viola. Claude Debussy (1862-1918) is generally considered the first composer to write for this instrumentation, but the English composer Arnold Bax (1883-1953), wrote a piece right around the same time. In this section, you can hear us play Bax's work, Elegiac Trio, along with a couple of contemporary pieces and a few transcriptions.

  • Trio Sirènes performance at Second Presbyterian Church

    Trio Sirènes (Marica McHugh, flute; Karin Brown, viola; and Jacqueline Pollauf, harp) perform at Second Presbyterian Church, Baltimore, Maryland. Photo by Lawrence Siegel.
  • Elegiac Trio by Arnold Bax

    Trio Sirènes (Marcia McHugh, flute; Karin Brown, viola; and Jacqueline Pollauf, harp) performs Elegiac Trio, by Arnold Bax (1883-1953). Although certainly an impressionistic piece with its sweeping lines and the many colors Bax explores, it is written, surprisingly, in a simple 4/4 meter. Each instrument is featured virtuosically throughout the piece. The harp begins and ends the work, and also introduces a contrasting middle section.
  • Three Shades Without Angles by Hannah Lash

    Trio Sirènes (Marcia McHugh, flute; Karin Brown, viola; and Jacqueline Pollauf, harp) performs Hannah Lash's (b. 1981) Three Shades Without Angles, composed in 2014. The piece alternates between relentless driving sections and quieter spacious sections. Lash's primary instrument is the harp, and she uses the instrument fully, including a section in the middle of the piece where arpeggios start on the lowest string of the harp, climb to the top string and return continuously, making the piece both physically and musically demanding to play.
  • Sonatine by Maurice Ravel, trans. Skaila Kanga

    Trio Sirènes (Marcia McHugh, flute; Karin Brown, viola; and Jacqueline Pollauf, harp) performs Sonatine by Maurice Ravel (1875-1937). It was originally written for solo piano and here is transcribed for flute, viola and harp by English harpist Skaila Kanga (b. 1946). This is the complete piece, with movements as follows: I. Modéré II. Mouvement de Menuet III. Animé
  • Trio Sirènes performance at UMBC

    Trio Sirènes (Marica McHugh, flute; Karin Brown, viola; and Jacqueline Pollauf, harp) perform at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Baltimore, Maryland.
  • Prelude and Fugue in c minor, BWV 871, J. S. Bach, arr. Rudolf Kämper

    Trio Sirènes (Marcia McHugh, flute; Karin Brown, viola; and Jacqueline Pollauf, harp) perform J. S. Bach's (1685-1750) Prelude and Fugue in c minor, BWV 871. This is from the second book of Bach's monumental work, The Well-Tempered Clavier. Rudolf Kämper (b. 1976) arranged the work for Trio Sirènes. As the work was originally for solo keyboard, he not only divided the part up between the instruments, but also expanded upon it, in some instances using harmonies that are decidedly of the 21st century.
  • Et Descendit by Sungji Hong

    Trio Sirènes (Marcia McHugh, flute; Karin Brown, viola; and Jacqueline Pollauf, harp) perform Sungji Hong's (b. 1973) work, Et Descendit. Hong composed this work in 2015 and since then Trio Sirènes has championed it, giving it many performances at a variety of venues. The work is a subtle exploration of colors and timbres between the three instruments.

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