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Courtney Hershey Bress joined the Colorado Symphony as Principal Harp in 2001, after
celebrated freelance career that took her all over the world. Her travels took her to
engagements in Asia with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, in the United States with the
Chicago Symphony Orchestra and, as Principal Harpist with the United States Army Field Band
as soloist and as part of the ensemble, on tour to the 48 continental states. She has been
Principal Harpist of the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music and guest Principal Harpist
with the Baltimore Symphony. She has played with the Grand Teton Music Festival, the Strings
Music Festival and as a guest artist with the Colorado College Summer Music Festival.
Ms. Bress was chosen and performed for the American Harp Society and the World Harp
Congress. She was the soloist in the world premiere of Michael Daugherty’s harp concerto
Harp of Ages, in May 2023, a piece commissioned by the Colorado Symphony for Ms. Bress.
Ms. Bress is also an active teacher in master classes around the country and in her private
teaching studio. She is the Adjunct Professor of Harp at Lamont School of Music, University of
Denver; Harp Instructor for the Lamont Summer Academy; and Lecturer of Harp at the
University of Wyoming. She was Assistant Professor of Harp at Colorado State University from
2016–2021 and has been visiting Professor of Harp at the Eastman School of Music.
Ms. Bress is the author of the book For Love of the Harp, published by Veritas Musica
Publishing. The book gives advice to young musicians and relates stories about her career,
then provides a guide to arranging and composing music for the harp.
Ms. Bress was a 2005 GRAMMY® nominee for her performance of Ancient Voices of Children
by George Crumb. She is a member of the internationally renowned flute, horn and harp
chamber group,Trio Arcadia. Her performances can be heard on recordings with the Colorado
Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, the U.S. Army Field Band, and on recordings on the Naxos,
Bridge, and Albany labels. Her duo album, Night Music and Fantasies, with violinist, Andrés
Cárdenes, was released in December 2022.
Ms. Bress earned a Bachelor of Music degree and the Performer’s Certificate from the Eastman
School of Music and received her Master of Music in Orchestral Studies from the Chicago
College of Performing Arts, Roosevelt University. Her teachers include Kathleen Bride, Sarah
Bullen, and Gretchen Van Hoesen.