Harpist to perform at Marilyn Horne Museum

Hannah Finson

The Marilyn Horne Museum and Exhibit Center will present a concert by harpist Hannah Grace Finson at 7 p.m. Dec. 6 in the museum theater.


Finson, a Southwestern High School senior from Lakewood, N.Y., will play a selection of classical and traditional Christmas music on her 107-year-old Lyon & Healy concert harp.


This is the second presentation in the free Marilyn Horne Museum Chamber Concert Series designed to offer classical music experiences to both newcomers and seasoned listeners. Finson will play to a “sold out” audience. Future concerts will take place Jan. 17, Feb. 14, March 14 and April 11, 2018.


Finson has studied harp since she was 8 years old. During a family visit to a local church event, Finson, who was about 5 or 6 at the time, discovered the instrument and immediately asked to take lessons.


That event began what would become a nearly 10-year journey and labor of love for the Finson family. Finson's mother, Karen, researched for almost a year before finding the Venus Harp Company in Chicago, Ill. The factory contacted the Finson family about a newly restored antique harp that was available for purchase. The family traveled to Chicago where they spent the day at the factory learning about harps - how they are strung, tuned, played, moved, and cared for.


Finson received her first harp lessons from Ann Harris, a Jamestown area resident, and is currently studying with Sonja Inglefield, a chamber musician and harp instructor at SUNY Fredonia. She has performed two solo harp recitals at ages 12 and 15. Her public harp performances have been limited, however, due the difficulty of moving the 75-pound antique instrument, which is sensitive to climate fluctuations and humidity.


Finson is a National Merit Scholarship semifinalist. In addition to the harp, she plays piano and trumpet and has been involved with the Lucille Ball Little Theatre Junior Guilders for nine years. A member of the Gloria Lutheran Church Choir, Finson also volunteers at UPMC Chautauqua WCA Hospital in Jamestown.


“This is a very special concert for us,” said museum manager, Matthew Hileman. “Marilyn Horne has dedicated the last two decades of her life to mentoring and educating youth. This concert is in perfect keeping with the museum's mission of introducing new generations to the power and importance of classical music.”


The Marilyn Horne Museum Chamber Concert Series is provided in part by a grant from the University of Pittsburgh's Year of Healthy U. Scientific studies have shown that classical music can have a positive impact on adults and children suffering from stress, high blood pressure, depression, anxiety and even epilepsy.


Performances begin at 7 p.m. Space is limited. Reservations are required and may be made 30 days prior to the concert date by calling 814-362-7990 or emailing info@marilynhorne.org.


About the Marilyn Horne Museum and Exhibit Center


The Marilyn Horne Museum and Exhibit Center is a division of the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford. The museum's mission is to further interest in the art of opera and to inspire and educate new generations on the importance of art, culture and philanthropy through the life, achievements, and personal archives of renowned mezzo-soprano, Marilyn Horne. The 3,400-square-foot exhibition space features 19 interactive exhibits, a documentary film, costumes, and artifacts from the personal archives of Marilyn Horne. Open daily. Admission is free.