Hannah Lash’s music has been performed at the Times Center in Manhattan, the Chicago Art Institute, Tanglewood Music Center, Harvard University, The Chelsea Art Museum, and on the American Opera Project’s stage in New York City as well as international venues and festivals. Commissions come from The Fromm Foundation, The Naumburg Foundation, the Orpheus Duo, and the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble among others. Hannah has received awards from ASCAP, a fellowship from Yaddo Artist Colony, the Barnard Rogers Prize in Composition, and numerous academic awards. Her orchestral work Furthermore was selected by the American Composers Orchestra for the 2010 Underwood New Music Readings.
Hannah obtained her Ph.D in Composition from Harvard University in 2010. She has held teaching positions at Harvard University, Alfred University, and currently serves on the composition faculty at Yale University School of Music.
Concerto for Harp and Chamber Orchestra
My piece reflects my love of the harp, but also addresses the idea of the harp as an instrument which carries an implication of being an outsider; mysterious, ephemeral, etc. I thought about what it means to play an instrument that is often thought of in these terms, and how the specialness of the harp could also create a sense of isolation on the part of the player: loneliness. A soloist in a concerto is naturally “other” to the ensemble, and the drama of a concerto often plays out in an almost adversarial relationship between the soloist and the ensemble. I wanted to explore this idea of the loneliness of the soloist in my own concerto, specifically through the lens of the harp’s particular “otherness” which is inextricably linked to what makes it special. The harp’s final cadenza reveals the most personal material in the piece: a slow Landler-like dance hovers like a memory in the harp, unaccompanied except for occasional small twitches from the ensemble towards the very end. It is as if the harp were revealing a music that the ensemble never participates in– a music that is special, beautiful, other-worldly, and fragile, like the harp itself.