‘Why we joined the union’

Volume 116, No. 9September, 2016

Emmanuel Ceysson

Emannuel CeyssonAfter nine years playing principal harp in the Paris Opera, I joined the MET Orchestra as the new principal harp. Joining Local 802 seemed like a very natural thing, coming from union-friendly France! It feels good knowing that our contracts and negotiations are handled by a strong group of dedicated people. Apart from playing in the best opera house in the world, I want to keep my solo and chamber music career going, especially in the U.S., where the harp is often left in the dark. After winning first prize in the U.S.A. International Harp Competition in 2004, and working as a Young Concert Artist from 2006 to 2010, I am familiar with the enthusiasm of American audiences and can’t wait to experience it again from now on! Definitely my best concert memory here was playing the Glière harp concerto with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s at Irene Diamond Hall in 2009. It had just reopened and I remember the incredible welcoming of the NYC audience. The concert made me feel so confident that I actually won the Münich ARD competition the same year with the same concerto! Being a classical musician – especially a harpist – in our very fast-changing world is a daily challenge. It’s not enough to be a very good musician and technician to earn a career. We also need to learn to communicate, advertise, adapt our concert formats to young crowds, and secure our future audiences! Even if music has to stay the main focus, new ways to share it have to be invented.