In a rare opportunity to hear a solo harp concert, the Unitarian Universalist Recital Series will present Anne Eisfeller at 7 p.m. Friday.
“I have loved the harp since childhood,” said Marilyn Garst, founder of the series. “We’re in our 11th season now, and we have only featured one other harpist in that time, Rosalind Simpson. It certainly is time to have another.”
If you attend San Juan Symphony or Music in the Mountains concerts, Eisfeller is often semi-hidden in the back or to the side with the low strings or the percussion section. Only two weeks ago, she performed with the Symphony for the “Latin Nights” concert. The harp’s distinctive sound could be heard in rolling arpeggios or syncopated motifs throughout.
Eisfeller is principal harpist of the New Mexico Philharmonic and Santa Fe Symphony. She also teaches at the University of New Mexico, where she participates in an innovative integrated medicine program known as Arts in Medicine.
A graduate of Indiana University’s renowned School of Music, Eisfeller earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees with high distinction in harp performance and music theory. She’s a lifetime member in the American Harp Society.
In her solo recital, Eisfeller will play works by a number of composers spanning five centuries. She’ll open with a work by Antonio del Cabezon, court composer to Isabella of Portugal and her powerful husband, Charles V of Spain. From that 16th century platform, Eisfeller will move through time and geography to the music of Ireland, Italy, Wales, France, Latin America, and the American Southwest.
Concluding with works from the present, Eisfeller will perform pieces by two contemporary composers: Alfredo Ortiz and Michael Mauldin. The Cuban-born Ortiz is also a medical doctor. In 1976, he moved to the United States to study music therapy and is the first musician to transcribe traditional South American harp music for classical players.
Mauldin is well known to Durango music lovers. His recordings are highly regarded, particularly “Enchanted Land,” featuring “Dawn at San Juan Mesa,” “Three Jemez Landscapes” and an epiphany titled “Fajada Butte.” His works have been performed by the San Juan Symphony.
Judith Reynolds is an arts journalist and member of the American Theater Critics Association.