Harpist Yolanda Kondonassis performed and was interviewed on Oberlin's Oberlin Stage Left series as their first featured artist. Dean William Quillen of Oberlin's Conservatory spoke with Kondonassis about her career, recent Grammy nomination, and the music of Alberto Ginastera. Following the live interview, Kondonassis' pre-recorded performance of Ginastera's harp concerto (with the Oberlin Orchestra led by Raphael Jiménez) was played.
That performance was part of her 2016 recording Ginastera: One Hundred, celebrating the centennial of the iconic Argentine composer. Of the album, Gramophone praises, “[Yolanda Kondonassis’] performance abounds with affectionate detail, particularly in the third-movement cadenza, which she plays with a keen sense of dramatic timing and a range of colour that’s breathtaking.”
Since its premiere in 1965, Ginastera's Harp Concerto has acquired an almost cult status as the definitive harp concerto of the 20th century. With its pulsing Latin rhythms, virtuosic displays, and creative use of many unique colors and special effects, the work has received numerous performances during the past several decades, nearly 200 of which have been performed by Yolanda Kondonassis.
Kondonassis had been scheduled to perform Ginastera's harp concerto with the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra in March 2020, but the performance was postponed to next season as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.
Oberlin Stage Left is a new series of digital discussions and performances, featuring the college's faculty and students; Kondonassis is a harp professor at the Conservatory.