Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
Friday, Dec. 1
The Indiana Daily Student

arts jacobs school of music

Striking a chord

Former International Harp Competition winner wows audiences


A champion of strings graced stages at IU this weekend, again.

Agnes Clement, first prize winner of the 8th USA International Harp Competition in 2010, wowed audiences in a laureate recital Saturday at Auer Hall at the Simon Music Center.

“We have spent a lot of time together,” Clement said of the instrument she won as first prize at the competition three years ago.

And the audience could tell.

The “beauty” of harp is what has kept Betsy Bosim, a Bloomington resident, coming to the contests since their start in 1989.

She said Clement’s performance, which included recitals of masters such as Debussy and Brahms, stood to high standard.

“It was beautiful,” Bosim said. “World-class stuff.”

Clement’s set of six pieces ranged centuries and styles from Spain to Germany to France.

But her bassoon and harp double performance, an original not listed on the program, came as a surprise.

“Be patient,” she warned. “It’s a little strange.”

After that the lights went dim and the room, a full house, took on a ghostly aura.
A video of a younger Clement playing bassoon and harp played as a backtrack for her on-stage performance.

The music was dark and full of heavy bass, and it resembled a performance art piece as Clement floated between instruments.

The ninth USA International Harp Competition began July 10 at the IU Jacobs School of Music with more than 50 harpists – the largest number of contestants since the competition’s inception. The competition will wrap up with a final stage performance 7 p.m. on July 20 at the MAC.

“Two weeks of harp, it’s inhuman,” joked Clement. “I wanted to show everyone something different.”

The decision earned her the first vocal applause of the night and a standing ovation.
But the building will continue to be filled with the sounds of harp this month.

The second stage of this year’s competition started Saturday and the contests will continue until July 20 when a winner will be chosen.

The prize will be a harp valued at $55,000.

And in September, Clement will take her prized career to Brussels, where she was appointed principal harpist of the La Monnaie theatre this spring.

The 23-year-old should have the heart for it.

“My harp is my best friend,” she said. “There’s nothing I do more.”

Get stories like this in your inbox