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Copyright ArpaViva Recordings 2018

ArpaViva CD008:

Shirley Meyer Blankenship

Shirley Meyer Blankenship, harp
Rudolf Haken, viola

HARPINATIONS is a collection of four works which epitomize Shirley Meyer Blankenship's life long passion for harp.

Shirley Meyer Blankenship is an American composer, harpist, pianist, violinist and music educator. In 1977 she became the first woman to receive a Doctorate in music composition from the University of Illinois. Her works for solo harp Metaphysical Waltz (1988) and Peace for Guidosan (1989) will astound you with the richness of her acoustic harp sound in music which is action - packed, permeated with wide leaping disjointed formulations, gestural and improvisational, nostalgic and mocking, tonal and atonal.

Works for viola and harp, Fantasy I, (1963) and Fantasy II, (2014) feature the internationally renowned violist and composer Rudolf Haken, professor at University of Illinois. In these two works, Shirley Meyer Blankenship's profound knowledge of writing for strings shines through. She offers the viola's sensuous lyricism while exploring a riveting virtuoso interplay between the two instruments.

In the degree of compositional excellence and the importance for the harp repertoire, works by Shirley Meyer Blankenship match Betsy Jolas' Tranche, (1976) Luciano Berio's Sequenza II, (1963) and George Rochberg's Ukiyo E I (1973)

Shirley Meyer Blankenship
was born in Decatur, Illinois, in 1938. A former child music prodigy, composer, harpist, pianist, and violinist she remained deeply rooted in the Illinois music community where she played in the orchestra, taught harp and composition, premiered new works for harp and often performed jazz, under the name of Anne Jazzmin with her late husband, saxophonist and composer Guido Sinclair.

HARPINATIONS offers to the listener Shirley Meyer Blankenship's rich palette of acoustic harp colors in music the composer performs naturally with that specific precision and clarity of sound to which harpists aspire to achieve through years of study and practice.

In 2013 Shirley Meyer Blankenship launched The Harp Legacy Project, consulting website to share the graphic notation for harp extended techniques she uses in her music and to assist composers writing for harp and other string instruments.

Audio Information:
Metaphysical Waltz, and Fantasy I and Fantasy II were recorded in 2014 by Michael Miller, Urbana, Illinois. Peace for Guidosan was recorded in 1988 by Mark Rubel, at the Pogo Studio, Champaign, Illinois, and was later digitalized by Shirley Meyer Blankenship and Paul Weston. For this release works by Shirley Meyer Blankenship were remastered for Arpaviva Recordings by Hans Dekline, Los Angeles, California.

Composers web site:

Rudolf Haken's web site:


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