Agostini, Gloria

Gloria Agostini. Harpist, teacher, b Montreal 30 May 1923, naturalized U.S. 1949, d 26 Jul 2004. After receiving a harp at 12 as a Christmas gift from Senator Lawrence Wilson, Gloria Agostini studied the instrument with Mother Saint Roméo at the Villa-Maria Convent in Montreal. On a scholarship from the Quebec government she went to New York at 15 for studies with Marcel Grandjany. She joined the ABC (radio) Symphony Orchestra in New York at 16. She returned to Canada in the early 1940s to perform on her brother Lucio Agostini's radio shows, was harpist 1941-2 with Les Concerts symphoniques de Montréal (Montreal Symphony Orchestra), and in 1942 was the soloist with that orchestra in Ravel's Introduction and Allegro. She made her career in New York, however, playing in studio (radio and recording) and chamber orchestras, and in recital. Specializing in contemporary music, she participated in the premieres of Pierre Boulez's Explosante Fixe (1973), Alberto Ginastera's Serenata (1974), and Barbara Kolb's Soundings (1973) with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and also in the first performances of works by Henry Cowell (Triple Rondo for flute and harp 1965; Concerto for flute and harp 1965?), Paul Creston (Symphonic Poem for harp and orchestra 1945), Igor Stravinsky (Epitaphium, North American premiere, 1959), and Charles Wuorinen (Harp Variations 1971). She also played on jazz recordings by Paul Desmond, Gunther Schuller, and others, and on pop recordings by performers as varied as Hall and Oates, Tony Bennett, and Britney Spears.

In 1977 Gloria Agostini began teaching at Yale University; she also taught at the Mannes College of Music and the Manhattan School of Music. Among her pupils were Gretchen van Hoesen and the composer Paul Carey. For Lyra Music, she edited editions of chamber works for harp.

See also Giuseppe Agostini (her father).