Yolanda Kondonassis is celebrated as one of the world’s premier solo harpists and is widely regarded as today’s most recorded classical harpist. Hailed as “a brilliant and expressive player” (Dallas Morning News), she has performed around the globe as a concerto soloist and in recital, bringing her unique brand of musicianship and warm artistry to an ever-increasing audience. Also a published author, speaker, professor of harp and an environmental activist, she weaves her many passions into a vibrant and multi-faceted career.
Since making her debut at age 18 with the New York Philharmonic and Zubin Mehta, Ms. Kondonassis has brought new audiences to the harp and has appeared as soloist with numerous major orchestras in the United States and abroad such as The New York Philharmonic, The Cleveland Orchestra, the English Chamber Orchestra and the Hong Kong Philharmonic, to name a few. She has been featured on CNN and PBS as well as Sirius XM Radio’s Symphony Hall, NPR’s All Things Considered and Tiny Desk Concerts, St. Paul Sunday Morning and Performance Today.
The first harpist to receive the Darius Milhaud Prize, Ms. Kondonassis is committed to the advancement of contemporary music for the instrument, with recent premieres including works by Bright Sheng, Keith Fitch and Gary Schocker. Ms. Kondonassis has also earned a reputation as a world-class chamber musician, collaborating with artists such as the Shanghai, JACK, Jupiter and Vermeer string quartets, pianist Jeremy Denk and guitarist Jason Vieaux, among others. The Kondonassis/Vieaux duo released their debut album, Together, in January 2015 on Azica Records.
With hundreds of thousands of albums sold worldwide, Ms. Kondonassis’ extensive discography, released on the Telarc, Azica, Oberlin, New World and Channel Classics labels, includes 19 titles. Her next album, celebrating Ginastera's Centennial, features the Ginastera Harp Concerto and will be released in October 2016 on Oberlin Music. Her 2008 release of music by Takemitsu and Debussy, Air (Telarc), was nominated for a Grammy® Award. Her many albums have earned universal critical praise as she continues to be a pioneering force in the harp world, striving to make her instrument more accessible to audiences and to push the boundaries of what listeners expect of the harp.
As an author, composer, and arranger, Ms. Kondonassis has published three books to date: On Playing the Harp, The Yolanda Kondonassis Collection and The Yolanda Kondonassis Christmas Collection. Carl Fischer Music publishes all of her works. Ms. Kondonassis carries her passionate artistic commitment to issues regarding the protection of natural resources, air quality and climate change. Royalties from several of her projects are donated to earth causes, and she is the founder and director of Earth at Heart, a non-profit organization devoted to earth literacy and inspiration through the arts. Her first children’s book, entitled Our House is Round: A Kid’s Book about Why Protecting Our Earth Matters, was published in 2012 by Skyhorse Publishing.
Born in Norman, Oklahoma, Yolanda Kondonassis attended high school at Interlochen Arts Academy. She continued her education at The Cleveland Institute of Music, where she received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees as a student of Alice Chalifoux. Ms. Kondonassis heads the harp departments at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and The Cleveland Institute of Music. She plays a Lyon & Healy Salzedo Model harp.