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If you think playing the harp is something only angels do, then you've never met Yolanda Kondonassis / WOSU Public Media

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Yolanda Kondonassis is in part the reason why Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Jennifer Higdon wrote her new harp concerto. One of today's foremost solo harpists, Kondonassis outspokenly disavows the heavenly stereotype of her instrument and instead, um, harps on its earthly possibilities.

"My mother was probably the instigating factor in me beginning the harp when I was 9 years old," Kondonassis said in a recent phone interview. "I grew up in Norman, Oklahoma, and I was a bit of a tomboy. And I think she thought the harp would refine me a bit. But in the years since then, I'm kind of fond of saying that instead of me becoming more angelic with the harp, I think the harp has probably become a little less angelic with me."

The Higdon Harp Concerto is the focus of American Rapture, the recently released Azica Records project. Recorded with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra led by Ward Stare, the album takes its name from American composer Patrick Harlin's Rapture, it's world-premiere also appears on the album.

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