About Lilac 94
As the Wilmington Star News writes, “Christina Brier and Kathryn Sloat of Lilac 94 aren’t your grandmother’s harpists. Brier and Sloat hit their soundboards, pound their harps with mallets, slap their strings, and generally make a ruckus.” The contemporary harp duo is dedicated to performing new and previously undiscovered music and exploring creative ways of using the harp. Since 2013, Lilac 94 has been performing new and underrepresented music as well as standard repertoire with the aim of exposing audiences of all ages to to the versatility of the modern pedal harp.
Lilac 94: Kathryn Sloat and Christina Brier | photo by Gerry Szymanski
The award-winning contemporary harp duo performs classic harp repertoire to Bollywood as well as twenty-first century works that have been written for them in a wide variety of venues that has ranged from the Rohs Street Cafe (OH) and Champlain Centre Mall (NY) to the Milwaukee Art Museum (WI), and Fishtank Theater (MO) to MISE-EN-Place in Brooklyn, Fringe Arts in Philadelphia, and The Troy Savings Bank Music Hall (NY) to Satosphère at Société des arts technologiques in Montréal. Highlights of 2018 included performances in Philadelphia in a full production of Karlheinz Stockhausen’s KLANG: The 24 Hours of the Day presented by Analog Arts and producer Elizabeth Huston and capturing Third Prize at the International Harp Competition in Saluzzo, Italy.
Lilac 94 has continued its work with Analog Arts by performing the Canadian premiere of Stockhausen’s “Freude” (Joy), the second hour of KLANG, at the Montréal Nouvelle Musiques Festival presented by La Société de Musique Contemporaine du Québec in early 2019. In June, Lilac 94 joins Conductor Steven Errante and the Wilmington Symphony Orchestra for a performance of Sir Karl Jenkin’s double-harp concerto Over the Stone, which was postponed due to Hurricane Florence. Remaining in North Carolina, Lilac 94 will be joined by theatrical harpist Rosanna Moore to present a workshop on incorporating unconventional elements such as percussion, speak-singing, acting, and mime into the concert performance at the American Harp Society’s 2019 Summer Institute in Winston-Salem. Lilac 94 then turns its attention to preparing an east coast tour in the fall—”American Postcards”—featuring a new work for two harps by American composer Molly O’Roark with performances in Atlanta, Kenan Chapel at Landfall, Richmond, Philadelphia, and New York.
Lilac 94 has commissioned this new piece by Molly O’Roark to round out the works in the duo’s Suites, Stories & Soundscapes recording project. It is a prime example of their mission to promote the versatility of the modern pedal harp while expanding the repertoire for two harps. Lilac 94 has also worked with composers such as Bret Bohman (“Swirl” and “Foglifter”), Rebecca Larkin (“The Juniper Tree”), and Daniel Morel (“KC Blue”). With its program of 21st century works, Lilac 94 featured these works at the 2015 American Harp Society’s Summer Institute with a subsequent Midwest tour including Kansas City, which was the inspiration for Morel’s award-winning composition.
With roots in North Carolina and New York, Lilac 94 is pleased to continually share their musical collaboration with the communities of Wilmington (NC) and New York’s Greater Capital Region. As new programs begin to bud, these communities have nurtured the duo’s growth and often give Lilac 94’s programming a first listen. While performing newly discovered or forgotten repertoire and collaborating with composers to bring their work to life is central to Lilac 94, coaching young harpists is also important to the duo. Over the years, Lilac 94 has enjoyed developing inventive outreach programs, workshops, and masterclasses for various harp camps, ensembles, and college programs such as the Connecticut Valley Harp Intensive, Christopher Newport University, Virginia Commonwealth University, and the HARPS Foundation (home of the American Harp Youth Ensemble) in Richmond, VA.
Kathryn Sloat, “whose harp playing evoked the angels” (Brooklyn Discovery), is known for her work in opera and contemporary chamber music. Kathryn, a NY Capital Region native and alum of the Empire State Youth Orchestra, is based in New York City where she keeps busy freelancing and teaching at the Diller-Quaile School of Music. Kathryn also teaches at the acclaimed Luzerne Music Center in New York’s Adirondack Park. When not performing and touring with Lilac 94, Christina Brier serves as Principal Harpist of the Carolina Philharmonic and Wilmington Symphony Orchestra, actively freelances, is a member of the University of North Carolina Wilmington music faculty, and manages her own studio in addition to fulfilling her duties as President of the Coastal Carolina Chapter of the American Harp Society and Executive Director at the Brooklyn Arts Music Academy in Wilmington.
Christina Brier and Kathryn Sloat formed Lilac 94 in 2013 as the two completed their graduate studies at the Eastman School of Music. The duo’s name reflects their origins in Rochester, where the lilac is the city flower, and the 94 strings between their two harps. Lilac 94 can be found online via various social media as @Lilac94duo and at www.Lilac94.com. Lilac 94 maintains memberships in the American Harp Society and Chamber Music America.