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A professional harpist based in Houston, Hope Cowan frequently performs as a soloist, chamber musician, orchestral player, and event harpist. She is also sought after as a harp teacher, and teaches lessons to students of all ages.
Originally from La Crosse, Wisconsin, Ms. Cowan relocated to Houston, Texas to pursue her music education. She has a Master’s of Music degree from Rice University and a Bachelor’s of Music from the University of Houston, both under the instruction of Paula Page.
As an orchestral musician, Ms. Cowan is the principal harpist of the El Paso Symphony Orchestra. She has also played with various orchestras including the San Antonio, Mississippi, Baton Rouge, Victoria, Lake Charles, Brazos Valley and Southeast Texas Symphonies. Recently she was featured as a soloist with the Brazosport Symphony.
An avid chamber musician, she has appeared with SYZGY: New Music at Rice, The Foundation for Modern Music, AURA, MUSIQA and her own performing ensemble: The Deciduous Trio. The Deciduous Trio is a harp/flute (Amulet Strange)/viola (Stephanie Mientka) trio that is committed to bringing their ensemble’s unique sound to diverse audiences and expanding its repertoire. The Deciduous Trio has performed for concert series all over the country and for the American Harp Society and National Flute Association Conventions. An advocate for new music, Ms. Cowan frequently performs contemporary solo and chamber music.
Ms. Cowan has also participated in a number of prestigious music festivals including the Chautauqua Festival Institute, Roundtop Festival Institute, the Texas Music Festival, and the Avaloch Farm Institute.
A committed and passionate teacher, Ms. Cowan teaches private lessons in her home in Katy, TX. She also teaches through the preparatory department at the University of St. Thomas and is a harp coach for the Houston Youth Symphony. She frequently runs clinics and workshops in school districts all over the Houston area, and regularly teaches in the Alief and Fort Bend ISDs. She is also on the faculty at the Houston Summer Harp Festival, a summer camp for middle school and high school harpists held at Houston Baptist University (http://houstonsummerharpfestival.com/).
Houston/Katy Harp Studio
One of the Houston area’s most sought after harp teachers, Ms. Cowan teaches students of all ages and experience levels. Her students have performed all over Houston, bringing their music to local churches, hospitals, and nursing homes. Her school age students often play in region orchestras, the TMEA All-State orchestra, and receive top ratings in solo and ensemble competitions. Ms. Cowan strives to create a supportive and nurturing learning environment where her students can grow and achieve their personal goals.
Training and Experience
- Bachelor of Music from the University of Houston’s Moores School of Music, studied with Paula Page
- Master of Music from Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, studied with Paula Page
- Faculty at the Houston Summer Harp Festival since 2013
- Harp Coach for the Houston Youth Symphony
- Private lessons teacher for the Alief School District (Elsik High School and Kerr High School)
- Regular clinician and harp ensemble director for Sartartia Middle School (Fort Bend ISD)
- Clinician and judge for school districts across the greater Houston area
Teaching harp is a very important part of my career. I love helping other people learn to play harp and create music. My goal for my students is that they develop a solid technical foundation, expressive musicality, and the ability to share their love of music with others. I also want my students to experience the satisfaction that comes from achieving their goals through consistent and disciplined practice. I teach students of all ages, and tailor my lessons to fit each individual’s personality, goals, and needs.
I currently teach in two locations: my home in Katy, TX and through the preparatory school at the University of St. Thomas located in the Montrose district of Houston. My teaching days and hours vary depending on student needs and availability. I offer a free consultation lesson for new students so that we can get to know each other before making any financial or time commitments. Please contact me to schedule your trial lesson and discuss possible lesson times and rates.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Do I need to bring my own harp to lessons? Usually students play on my harp (a concert grand) for their lessons. If you feel more comfortable on your own instrument you are of course welcome to bring it.
- How much will I need to practice? Frequency of practicing is more important than duration, especially at the beginning. I recommend 20-30 min 5-6 days a week for beginners. Your practice sessions will grow longer as your stamina grows and your music becomes more complicated.
- What kind of technique do you teach? I am trained in, and teach, using the Salzedo technique. This is a method of harp playing founded by the great French/American harpist Carlos Salzedo and passed down teacher to student. It focuses on developing a beautiful, consistent sound from the first notes, a solid understanding of rhythm, and a relaxed and visually aesthetic approach to playing the harp.
- What should I bring to my lesson? You should bring any music you are working on, a notebook, pencil, metronome, and tuner. You should also make sure your fingernails are trimmed short. Sadly, no manicures for harpists.
- Will I have performance opportunities? Yes! For school age students I organize at least one recital a year. Additionally, I frequently set up outreach performance opportunities in local nursing homes, hospitals, and churches. These performances not only help you gain performance practice and confidence but also help bring music to our community. I can also provide information for local and national competitions, summer camps, and youth orchestras for interested students.
Please contact me to set up a consultation lesson, find out more about my teaching, or even if you just have questions about learning the harp.
Many couples spend a lot of time and energy thinking about the “look” of their wedding, but neglect to think about the “sound” of the day. Music helps to set an atmosphere and is often one of the most memorable aspects for couples, families, and guests.
Harp music is a perfect choice for your wedding ceremony, cocktail hour, or dinner. Whether you love classic and traditional music, or more modern and popular songs, I can help you select music that you and your guests will love. My goal is always to provide memorable and beautiful music that adds to your wedding day experience.
The harp is well suited for almost any venue. The sound of the harp is very resonant and carries well, but is never overpowering, even for smaller venues. Likewise, it is very easy to amplify for a bigger space. I have played everywhere from museums, to churches, to country ranches, to backyard weddings. I love seeing all the wonderful places where couples get married in the greater Houston area. I may even be able to recommend some possible venues if you are still searching.
I enjoy the variety and diversity of clients I serve and am happy to play for all kinds of wedding celebrations. I strive to be a LGBTQ friendly wedding vendor.
Please contact me to check your wedding date availability and get a quote based on your needs.