Electric Harp is Key to Wild Concert

Posted on 11/20/2014 3:58:29 PM

Up next for its Ovations! series, the Lively Arts at Indiana University of Pennsylvania will present a return visit from Grammy-nominated electric jazz harpist Deborah Henson-Conant. This one-night event will be held on December 4, 2014, at 8:00 p.m. in Fisher Auditorium of IUP’s Performing Arts Center.

For her return engagement, which helps celebrate 25 years of the Lively Arts, Henson-Conant will be joined by the IUP Jazz Ensemble for a few numbers, as well as by harpist Lucy Scandrett. Scandrett is an active performer with numerous Western Pennsylvania professional ensembles and an adjunct professor at IUP. The concert, appropriate for all ages, will also include several tunes celebrating the holiday season.

Henson-Conant is known for her high-energy shows with ensembles and as a soloist, her evocative singing voice, her connection with the audience, and her high-energy fusion of music and theater. In addition, she revolutionized the contemporary music scene by transforming the classical concert harp into a “Street Harp”—a powerful, fully electric instrument a seventh of the size of a concert harp. Her playing ranges from full-out blues to rock, jazz, and heart-wrenching ballads.

Henson-Conant’s voice has been compared to Carly Simon and Joan Baez; her playing to Chuck Berry and Jimi Hendrix; and her humor to musical comedian Victor Borge. Using a “looper-pedal” to layer sounds from her harp in real time, then weaving solo lines and vocals above it, her shows are tied together by powerful, funny, affirming stories, and universal humor.

Henson-Conant debuted with the Boston Pops; opened for Ray Charles at Tanglewood; and jammed onstage with Bobby McFerrin, Doc Severinsen, and Marvin Hamlish and offstage with Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler. She’s been featured on CBS’s Sunday Morning, NBC’s Today Show, and NPR’s Weekend Edition.

Her signature instrument, the DHC Blue-Light, was built and named for her. It weighs 11 lbs, has 32 strings, and is made of carbon fiber. Created for her by the CAMAC Harp Company in France, it is now one of the fastest-selling new harp models in the world.

Tickets for the December 4 performance are available now online, or the Lively Arts website. They can also be purchased at the Hadley Union Building ticket office on the IUP campus or by calling the HUB ticket office at (724) 357-1313. Any seats remaining will be sold at the door starting one hour prior to the performance. Tickets are priced at $26 for regular admission, $22 for seniors and groups, and $14 for students and children.

For more information on this and other events within the Lively Arts, call (724) 357-2787 (ARTS).

The Ovations! series is funded, in part, by donations through the Premiere Club, business sponsorships, grants, and the IUP Student Cooperative Association. The Lively Arts, a program of the College of Fine Arts, presents nearly 200 performances, programs, and exhibits annually.


Deborah Henson-Conant

Deborah Henson-Conant

December 4, 2014
8:00 p.m.

Fisher Auditorium, IUP Performing Arts Center

Deborah Henson-Conant fuses blues, flamenco, Celtic, funk, folk, and jazz into her own genre for a once-in-a-lifetime experience you do not want to miss. This return engagement will feature a program of ballads, blues, holiday music, and collaboration with the IUP Jazz Ensemble and PSO harpist Lucy Scandrett. It is sure to be a feel-good, outside-the-box, bring-the-folks-you-love kind of show.

This event is over.

For more information, visit Deborah Henson-Conant, e-mail , or call 724-357-2787.