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Harpy Hour, May 15 at 5pm

Let's celebrate music over a glass of something - this week it's martinis!

Join host Grace Browning, RPO Principal Harpist on Friday, May 15 from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. for the fourth in a series of Harpy Happy Hours LIVE on WXXI's Facebook page. In this Harpy Hour, Grace will joined by Joshua Roman, cellist/composer/curator; Lara Somogyi, harpist-composer; and Molly McDonald, violinist. Also on the show, Paul Knoke, a local harp historian (with a harp museum in his house!) who will share one of his antique harps with a short historical performance. 

Harpy Hour is an online, virtual series that presents live musical performances, special guests, great conversation, trivia, and a featured establishment/local beverage! This week's featured beverage is vermouth.... well, martinis with vermouth from T.W. Hollister & Co.


More about the artists:

Joshua Roman, cello

Joshua Roman, cellist/composer/curator. Joshua Roman is a cellist, accomplished composer and curator whose performances embrace musical styles from Bach to Radiohead. Before setting off on his unique path as a soloist, Roman was the Seattle Symphony’s principal cellist – a job he began at just 22 years of age and left only two years later. He has since become renowned for his genre-bending repertoire and wide-ranging collaborations. Roman was named a TED Senior Fellow in 2015. His live performance of the complete Six Suites for Solo Cello by J.S. Bach on TED’s Facebook Page garnered 1.8M live viewers, with millions more for his Main Stage TED Talks/Performances, including an improvisational performance with Tony-winner/MacArthur Genius Grant recipient Bill T. Jones and East African vocalist Somi.

Lara Somogyi, harp

Lara Somogyi, harpist-composer. Lara is a Los Angeles based harpist and contemporary classical performer-composer.  Known for her work with electronics and pedal fx her work is focused on forging a new artistic identity for the harp. Lara is a graduate from the Royal Academy of Music in London, and in 2018 was awarded as an honorary Associate of the Royal Academy of Music (ARAM) for her contributions to her field. In addition to being a composer-performer, she is also an active session harpist - recording in a wide range of genres for Film and TV from sessions with the London Symphony Orchestra to Rufus Wainwright and Bonobo. Lara is also called upon for her unique combination of electroacoustic harp and fx pedals as well as her improvisation and compositional arrangements in sessions as well as a live performer.


Molly McDonald, violin

 Molly McDonald, Violin. A native of Fairway, Kansas, Molly joined the RPO in October of 2013 as Acting Assistant Principal Second Violin. She has been playing in the first violin section since September 2014. With a Bachelor of Music degree and a Certificate in World Music, McDonald was one of RPO Concertmaster Juliana Athayde’s first students at Eastman. She then continued on to complete a Master of Music degree at the Cleveland Institute of Music with William Preucil, concertmaster of The Cleveland Orchestra.  Molly grew up playing music with both of her parents, and gained exposure to chamber music and orchestral playing through local festivals in Kansas City. In the coming years she attended many other summer festivals including the Interlochen Arts Camp, the Castleman String Quartet Program, the Round Top Festival Institute, the National Repertory Orchestra, Music Academy of the West, and the Tanglewood Institute. Prior to the RPO, she was Assistant Principal Second Violin of the Canton Symphony Orchestra, and she has made appearances with the Kansas City Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, and the New World Symphony. During her education, Molly explored Early Music, Balinese Gamelan, folk, and many other styles of music. She is passionate about teaching and playing chamber music, and continues to do both in addition to her position with the RPO.

Paul Knoke, harp historian

  Paul Knoke, a local harp historian (with a harp museum in his house!) who will share one of his antique harps with a short historical performance. 

More about your Harpy Hour Host: 

Grace Browning
Harpy Hour Host Grace Browning

  Grace Browning is RPO Principal Harpist. An avid opera harpist, Grace performed four seasons as Principal Harpist with the Dallas Opera and continues to perform with the Santa Fe Opera for their summer season. She has also performed regularly with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Dallas Symphony Orchestra and, most notably, with the Houston Symphony Orchestra as Guest Principal Harpist during their 2017-2018 season and European tour. Grace attended the Eastman School of Music from 2005 to 2007, received her undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan in 2009, and finished her education at The Juilliard School, where she received her masters degree in 2011. She is also a New World Symphony Alum. To learn more about Grace visit her website by clicking here.

Mona Seghatoleslami is the Music Director, host and producer on WXXI Classical 91.5 FM weekdays from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. She also hosts the lunchtime concert series Live From Hochstein Wednesdays at 12:10 p.m., interviews musicians, produces special programs, and works on any project she can find that helps connect people and music in our community through WXXI.