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About Me

As a recent winner of four solo competitions in an eighteen month span, including the 2013 Duquesne University Concerto Competition, the American Harp Society’s 2014 Anne Adams Awards, Duquesne University’s Women’s Advisory Board Scholarship, and the 2015 VSA International Young Soloists Award, Sophie Graf is a rising presence in the classical music world. These awards have led to performances on the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage in Washington D.C. and at the American Harp Society’s 51st National Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana. Sophie also enjoys playing with various orchestras, including the Texas Music Festival Orchestra, the Duquesne Symphony Orchestra, and the Westmoreland Symphony. Orchestral playing has led to performances at the University of Houston Opera House in Houston, TX, Carnegie Music Hall in Pittsburgh, PA, the Palace Theater in Greensburg, PA, Copley Symphony Hall, home of the San Diego Symphony, and Heinz Hall, home of the Pittsburgh Symphony, including a special collaboration with the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony under the direction of Manfred Honeck, music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. In addition to these serious locations, she has performed at a number of more interesting locations, including the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, Heinz Field, the Duquesne Club, and Biddle’s Escape, a hipster coffee shop in the Regent Square neighborhood of Pittsburgh. Sophie enjoys playing in these unusual spaces to share her rare instrument with regular people. One of her most interesting projects started off as the Pittsburgh premiere of Robert Paterson’s Book of Goddesses (2010) for flute, percussion and harp. The performance of this work sparked the composition of a sister piece entitled Mythologies by Duquesne University composition student Sean Nypaver, written for the same combination and premiered in 2015. Sean consulted with Sophie extensively throughout the entire writing process. This in turn led to a presentation by Sophie on writing for the harp to the Duquesne University Composer’s Society. A native of San Diego, California, she began studying the harp at the age of 12 with Elena Mashkovtseva and currently studies with Gretchen Van Hoesen, the principal harpist of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.  Sophie has played in master classes with Maria Luisa Rayan-Forrero, Ann Yeung, Nancy Allen, and Claire Jones, the former Royal Harpist to the Prince of Wales. She graduated from Duquesne University in May 2016 with a Bachelor of Music in harp performance and is attending Carnegie Mellon University to earn her master’s degree.