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Biography

Susan Knapp Thomas, harpist, received her Bachelor’s Degree from the Eastman School of Music, and is a student of Eileen Malone, Phyllis Wright, Aristid von Wurtzler and Barbara Pniewska. Ms. Thomas is a well-known Chamber, Orchestral and Solo Concert Artist and teacher throughout Connecticut and Southern New England.

As an orchestral harpist, Susan currently serves as Principal Harp for the Hartford Symphony. She has enjoyed a long relationship with the symphony, and was their featured concerto soloist in June of 2008, performing Mozart’s Flute and Harp Concerto with principal flutist, Grieg Shearer. She also plays regularly for the Rhode Island Philharmonic, is Principal Harpist for the Waterbury Symphony, and performed as harpist for the U.S. Coast Guard Band from 1987-2002. Ms. Thomas regularly plays shows for the Goodspeed Opera House, in addition to touring shows for the Bushnell and the Shubert Theaters in Hartford and New Haven, CT.

Also a chamber music artist, Ms.Thomas has been featured in concert at The Sunken Garden Poetry Festival, the Trinity College Summer Concert Series, and in March of 2011was the featured guest artist for the Elektra Chamber Ensemble's Music Series in Farmington, Connecticut, performing Handel's Concerto in Bb, and the Saint Saens Fantaisie for Harp and Violin, with violinist Bruna Myftaraj. She was featured with well-known flutist Brad Garner at the 1993 Flute Convention, and is co-founder of her own flute and harp duos and flute, harp and 'cello trios, for which she has made several arrangements. In October of 2005 she premiered a new work for harp, cello and voice written by Connecticut composer Sarah Meneely-Kyder, "Behold Night's Dream Unveiled."

Ms. Thomas has done regular work for the Frank Sinatra Jr. show.  Her backup work includes shows for such notables as Judy Collins, the group "Yes", the Beach Boys, Brian Wilson, Peter Cetera, Johnny Mathis and others. Her recently released CD, Everlasting Sunday, was a finalist considered by the Greater Hartford Arts Council for one of their donor level gifts. She is also recorded on the Opus label.

A harp concerto soloist of fine repute, Ms. Thomas has been invited to perform many local groups such as I Giovanni Solisti, the Farmington Valley and Wallingford Symphonies, and the Connecticut Valley Chamber Orchestra, performing Debussy's Danses Sacree et Profane, Ravel's Introduction and Allegro, and Mozart's Concerto for Flute and Harp. She has been a featured solo guest artist for numerous concert series in both Northern and Southern New England.

A passionate instructor, Ms. Thomas is on the faculty at MusicMakers Academy in Manchester, Trinity College, and Central Connecticut State University. She is the Director and Founder of the Connecticut Valley Harp Intensive Summer Camp (ctvalleyharp.com) in Simsbury, CT.  She has served as an Effective Competition Preparation Coach for such national competitions as the Anne Adams Awards, and recently judged the AHS MetroHarp Competition in New York City.  Her students have been multiple prize winners in both local and national competitions. Ms. Thomas is a contributing writer to "The Harp Column" magazine, and serves on the board of the American Harp Society.

Ms. Thomas lives in Bloomfield with her husband, Brad, and their Australian Shepherds, Tillie and Pepper. When not playing the harp, Susan enjoys training and trialing her dogs in the sport of agility, traveling with her husband and anything outdoors.

Susan Knapp Thomas brings a virtuosi clarity to ..difficult harp writing that makes it sound effortless….”  Jeffrey Johnson, The Hartford Courant

“One fine harpist….”  Frank Sinatra Jr.


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