Behind the Scenes: Fargo

One of the projects I had the pleasure to work on recently was a studio session for the new television series Fargo on FX Networks. This was my first studio session for a television show, and it was a really fun (and slightly surreal) experience.

When I arrived at the studio, most of the score had already been previously recorded by the Prague Filmharmonic Orchestra. Composer Jeff Russo wanted to add some Celtic harp parts to the score, which is haunting and elegant in its simplicity - perfect for the show! First, I watched the clip with just the dialogue (no sound), then we recorded and Jeff overlaid my part on top of the orchestra. The final touch was adding in sound effects: a radio announcer, a car braking, a door buzzer, and creaking stair steps.

Unfortunately I can't share the TV clip since it would be a violation of copyright, but you can hear some excerpts from the album (sans sound effects) here.

Strangest Gig Ever?


Last week I found these photos on my phone from one of the more unusual gigs I've played recently and thought they would be fun to share. I was hired to play for the grand opening of one of the L'Occitan stores and got to witness firsthand all of the craziness that goes into prepping a retail store for business on opening day - including installing the sign out front at the last minute!

This is not the strangest place I've ever played by a long shot (that would be the time I played in a Spanish convent in college or maybe the time I played for a caterpillar convention - I'm still not sure if the attendees were bug or tractor enthusiasts). One of the things I like best about being a freelance musician is that you never really know what you'll get asked to do. Often, the most unexpected gigs turn out to be the most fun. After all, how often do you get the chance to hear a concert harp in a shopping mall?

Carlsbad Boys & Girls Club Harp Recitals

I wanted to share a few photos from two recitals given by students from the Carlsbad Boys & Girls Club. The students ranged in age from 6-12 years old and practiced diligently to learn all of their songs in just six weeks! They performed four songs from around the world, including "Bamboo Leaves," a traditional Chinese song; "Glissando Waltz," a Viennese-inspired dance; "Celtic Reel," based on the Irish song "Brian Boru's March;" and the well-known American folk tune "Yankee Doodle Dandy."

This recital was the culmination of the Museum of Making Music's Harps in the City program (you can read more about that in an earlier post). It was a very rewarding experience to work with the kids and I was thrilled to have the opportunity! A special thank you to the Museum of Making Music, the Carlsbad and Bressi Ranch Boys & Girls Clubs, the Carlsbad Charitable Foundation, and all of the volunteers who generously donated their time to make this program possible.

San Diego Union Tribune Article

To follow up on my last post, the San Diego Union Tribune just published a wonderful article about the Museum of Making Music's Harps in the City program and exhibit. The exhibit features instruments from around the world, including some rarely seen harps from private collections, and also offers visitors a chance to try out some of the harps. It will run until September 30th.

In addition to teaching harp lessons at the museum, I am honored to play for their Local Harpist Showacase Concert on Saturday, April 27th. The Museum of Making Music has also invited several internationally acclaimed harpists to play for their concert series. Click on the links below for more details and to read the full article.

Harps In The City Article page 1
Harps In The City Article page 2

Harps in the City Program

I am very excited to announce that I will be giving lessons to students from the Carlsbad and Bressi Ranch Boys & Girls Club this spring as part of the Museum of Making Music's new Harps in the City program. This program has been a long time in the making, and wouldn't have been possible without a generous grant and support from the Carlsbad Charitable Foundation. Recently, two of my students and I played for a segment of KUSI's "Good Morning San Diego" to promote Harps in the City. We all had a lot of fun learning how TV production works, and I think they did a fantastic job playing on air in front of a live audience! Click on the videos below to watch.

Sprezzatura Duo Mid-Atlantic Concert Tour

In August, I had the chance to tour throughout Virginia with one of my best friends and partner-in-crime, Anna Pike. Since Anna lives on the East Coast and I am on the West Coast, we always look forward to playing together as the Sprezzatura Duo. Photos from our concerts in Norfolk and Williamsburg can be found in the Photo Gallery, but I thought it would be fun to also include some other "behind-the-scenes" photos when we weren't performing. 

We are often asked how we transport our instruments. This photo captures it perfectly. We should have subtitled this tour, "Two large harps, one tiny SUV." It is actually possible, though probably not recommended, to fit two harps in one car. You could also fit 47,000 piccolos in the same space. Clearly, we chose the wrong career path. 

An unexpected hurricane happened as we were driving to our first concert. Coming from California, I had never been caught in a hurricane before and found it to be much more terrifying than an earthquake! 


The green room at the Hermitage Museum in Norfolk is located behind this painting, part of a secret door that leads to the original kitchen (the museum is in an early twentieth-century Arts & Crafts style house). We certainly had fun surprising our audience, though I wonder how many people over the years have been startled by the sudden appearance of cocktails and hors d'oeuvres while casually admiring the art.

Our amazing violinist

Our amazing violinist

Anna & I both love ice cream. What better way to celebrate the end of another successful concert tour than with an ice cream fist-bump!

Anna & I both love ice cream. What better way to celebrate the end of another successful concert tour than with an ice cream fist-bump!