Susan Jolles


Harpist Susan Jolles has married a specialty in contemporary music to a diverse career that has made her a fixture of the American performance and recording scenes. Her initial boost to prominence came with a Fromm Fellowship for the performance of new music, awarded at the 1963 Tanglewood Festival. She went on to give premieres or early performances of music by Elliott Carter, Luciano Berio (Sequenza II), George Crumb, and Charles Wuorinen, and in 1975 she became a founding member of the all-female Jubal Trio, a group with the uniquely contemporary constitution of soprano, flute, and harp. Jolles has served for many years as principal harpist of the American Composers Orchestra, and she has been affiliated on an ongoing basis with the New York Chamber Symphony and many other ensembles. Beyond the contemporary sphere, Jolles has recorded a variety of French harp favorites that have led to her frequent presence on widely distributed compilation discs; her website makes the claim that she is heard almost daily on U.S. classical radio. She also appeared on two Grammy award--winning albums, the Contemporary Chamber Ensemble's Ancient Voices of Children and the celebrated debut of soprano Dawn Upshaw. Jolles has recorded two albums and concertized widely with Argentine-American klezmer clarinetist Giora Feidman, and her credits also include appearances in the 2008-2009 revival of Gypsy and several other Broadway shows. Several of her many harp arrangements of works in other media have been published. In 1997 Jolles joined the faculty of the Manhattan College of Music. She and her husband, composer Jerome Jolles, live in the Forest Hills district of Queens, NY. With her daughter Renée, a violinist, she has performed as the Jolles Duo.