Born: New York, NY
Nancy Allen is well respected by many not only as a harpist, but also as a teacher. She grew up in New York City, dividing her studies among the harp with Pearl Chertok, the piano, and the oboe. She was fortunate enough to spend the summer of 1972 learning from Lily Laskine in France, before enrolling at Juilliard, where she studied under Marcel Grandjany. In 1973 she won the Fifth International Harp Competition in Israel. She made her New York recital debut in 1975, and her early career included touring with flutist Ransom Wilson. Since then, she has also worked closely with Kathleen Battle, Richard Stolzman, Manuel Barrueco, and Carol Wincenc on recital projects. She regularly performs with the New York-based Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and signed on as principal harpist with the New York Philharmonic in 1999, which allowed her to stay close to her young family. However, she also appears internationally with ensembles such as the English Chamber Orchestra, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, and the Royal Philharmonic. Allen joined the faculty of Juilliard in 1985 and now heads the harp program there, as well as at Yale, where she joined the faculty in 1992, and at the Aspen Music Festival and School. Many of her students now hold positions in well-known orchestras around the world. Her recording of Ravel's Introduction and Allegro with the Tokyo String Quartet, Wilson, and clarinetist David Shifrin was nominated for a Grammy award. Allen's other recordings can be found on a variety of labels, covering a variety of music from Bach to Ives to Takemitsu.