A concerto written especially for 19-year-old harpist Esther Cannon will be performed by the TWU orchestra.

A concerto written especially for 19-year-old harpist Esther Cannon will be performed by the TWU orchestra.

Harpist given the gift of music

Esther Cannon,19, is the recipient of her very own concerto

For a 19-year-old harpist, few Christmas gifts can top the one Esther Cannon has just received.  Cannon’s audition won her the opportunity to have a concerto written especially for her, to be performed by the Trinity Western University Orchestra.

The competition, being held for the second time, invites student instrumentalists to audition for composer David Squires, Dean of TWU’s School of the Arts, Media and Culture (SAMC).

From competitors including pianists, wind and string players, Squires and other SAMC Music professors selected Cannon as the soloist for a harp concerto which Squires will write on his sabbatical this spring.

Cannon, a homeschooler born and raised in Langley, is now in the third year of her Music degree at TWU, majoring in harp performance.  She has been playing since the age of 11, and earlier this year was invited to play and tour with Winter Harp, a professional ensemble made up of harps, voices, and medieval instruments. She has already performed 12 Medieval Christmas shows with the ensemble this season.

“I am thrilled to have this opportunity,” Cannon said.

“Playing with an orchestra is so good for a musician’s development, because you learn to work as a team; performing a concerto even more so because as a soloist, you function like a leader.  I can’t wait to get started.”

Cannon will be actively involved in Squires’ composition process in the coming months.

“I am very excited to be working with her,” said Squires, explaining that his concerto will highlight Esther’s unique strengths.

“Working with student performers gives me a chance to explore what makes them tick musically, and write something which shows them to great advantage.”

This will be Squires’ fourth collaboration with the TWU Orchestra. TWU’s first concerto competition was won by violinist Brielle Goheen, who premiered Squires’ piece Where Angels Dance in April 2007.

“As a composer who’s deeply committed to educating and mentoring new generations of musicians, I relish the opportunity to write for students,” said Squires, who introduced the idea of the competition to SAMC in 2006.

“Young musicians spend so much time with the music of composers who are not present (long-deceased or geographically removed).  It is a relatively rare experience to work alongside the composer towards the performance of a piece, especially when that piece has been written for you in particular.”

Cannon’s harp concerto will premiere in the spring of 2013 as part of the TWU Orchestra’s regular season. For the latest SAMC news and events, visit www.twu.ca/samc.