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Renié, Henriette Renié, harp, harpists, harp performance, harp composition, harp transcription, solo harp, pedagogy, Paris Conservatory, Sébastien Érard, Mildred Dilling, Marcel Grandjany, Susann McDonald


In 1810, Sébastien Érard patented a double-action mechanism that would dramatically alter the trajectory of the pedal harp. While this invention granted the harp a newfound voice in orchestral music, the harp still struggled to gain ground as a solo instrument. The harp’s increased complexity necessitated that harpists themselves explore the instrument’s abilities and demonstrate these to the musical world. It is to one such harpist, Henriette Renié, that the harp owes much of its credibility as an instrument worthy of the solo stage. From her prodigious beginnings at Paris Conservatoire, Renié’s concerts captivated musicians and the public alike. Her spirit on stage exuded a love of the harp and indeed, of beauty itself. Finding existing literature to be somewhat limited, Renié gifted the harp repertoire with significant works that showcased the harp’s virtuosic abilities and inimitable qualities. Yet, her influence might not have been so widespread had it not been for her love of teaching. Committed to cultivating a love of the harp in each of her students, Renié instructed numerous harpists, including Mildred Dilling, Marcel Grandjany, and Susann McDonald. This article demonstrates Mlle. Renié’s vital role in the advancement of the harp as a solo instrument by drawing on biographical information, interview transcriptions, student testimonials, and score study. Renié heralded the harp’s potential for the entirety of her career, and her legacy rightly serves as an inspiration to today’s harpists. In surveying the impact of her performances, compositions, and teaching, it is clear that Mlle. Renié’s mastery of the harp was outmatched only by her love for it.





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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


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