“The quartet that put harp quartets on the map” - Harp Column Magazine
Founded in 2012, the Chicago Harp Quartet has established itself as the leading harp ensemble in the United States. The Quartet brings its signature mix of original transcriptions of Baroque, Classical and Romantic repertoire and new works by the world’s leading composers. The Quartet is dedicated to presenting innovative and charismatic programs to stages and audiences of all sorts. Every CHQ performance is a unique experience, bringing together the four members’ extensive and diverse solo careers and their combined dedication to sharing the excitement of the harp quartet literature.
The Chicago Harp Quartet has performed at major concert venues across the US and abroad including Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Ravinia Festival, Curtis Institute of Music and the National Theater in Havana, Cuba. The Quartet has collaborated with artists including Third Coast Percussion, the International Chamber Ensemble, Duo Scorpio, Mozawa, and Ho Etsu Taiko.
The Quartet is devoted to educating its audiences and reaching students of all disciplines. CHQ is sought after for masterclasses and educational residencies (recently at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, New York University, Vanderbilt University and Play On Philly!) and continues to inspire young harpists through their work with the Chicago Harp Ensemble.
CHQ is featured frequently on WFMT Chicago (98.7FM) and has performed for the Lyon & Healy 150th Anniversary Festival and 2015 Summer Concert Series, 41st National Conference of the American Harp Society in New Orleans, Norton Building Series, Dame Myra Hess Concert Series at the Chicago Cultural Center and Ear Taxi Festival.
Among ongoing commissioning projects, the Quartet has premiered works by Bernard Andres, Nicholas Davies, Alfredo Rolando Ortiz, Carolyn O'Brien, and Hilary Purrington. In 2014, the Quartet released their highly successful debut CD, Soirées d'été and in 2018 their second disc, Dance Sketches.
Marguerite Lynn Williams fell in love with the harp when she was five years old.. Growing up in an artistic family, she was lucky enough to have her passion for music nurtured by her parents and teachers. Her performances have been described as “ravishing harp artistry” (Charleston Today), “seamless technical polish and lyric sensitivity” (Chicago Classical Review), and “a bravura tour de force” (Miami Herald). Marguerite’s career has taken her around the world performing with some of the most famous conductors and orchestras including the Chicago Symphony and Toronto Symphony as well as with Gustavo Dudamel and Riccardo Muti. Some of her favorite concert halls to perform in have been Royal Albert Hall, Carnegie Hall and Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall.
Teaching is her other great passion. Marguerite is the Founder and Director of the Chicago Harp Ensemble, student training ensemble established in 2010, and is on the faculty at both the Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University and the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. She has published over 100 arrangements and original compositions for harp solo and ensemble and is currently working on a new pedagogy manual for young teachers.
Born in Dayton, OH, Ms. Williams began studying the harp at fourteen. A student of Kathleen Bride, she received her B.M. and Performer’s Certificate from the Eastman School of Music. She continued her graduate studies at the Chicago College of Performing Arts studying with Sarah Bullen. Following her studies, she served as Principal Harpist of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and the New World Symphony and since 2011 has held the position of Principal Harpist in the Lyric Opera of Chicago.
Marguerite currently resides in Chicago, IL with her Stage Manager husband (Donald), rising star daughter (Lucille 2), cocker spaniel Dante (4) and tuxedo cat Eloise (6). When she’s not performing, Marguerite loves to travel the world to experience foreign cultures and dig in the dirt of her small city garden.
Even before she entered this world, Julie Spring was destined for the harp. Her mother was quoted as saying that her children would learn to play the harp when Julie was still in the womb! So it was that Julie and her siblings all took lessons while growing up outside Chicago. Eventually, Julie’s path took her to Eastman School of Music and further to Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing arts, where she finished her Master’s Degree in Orchestral Studies in 2007.
Since that time, Julie has lived in numerous places and had the joy of playing with some of the world’s most prestigious orchestras, including holding the title of Principal Harp with the Toronto and Hartford Symphony Orchestras. While Julie cherishes the opportunities to play with these orchestra as well as playing as a guest with the Chicago Symphony, Lyric Opera Orchestra of Chicago and Grant Park Symphony, she finds a persistent calling to teach.
Outside of the standard private lesson studio in her home, Julie has taught as a sabbatical replacement at her alma mater, Eastman School of Music, as well as Harp faculty at Gordon College, Boston and Concordia University, Chicago. While her own grueling practice hours at the harp are treasured, she takes immense pride in the growth and accomplishments of her students.
Julie’s harp-roadie-in-training is her son, Dax, who turns 7 this year. You can find them playing a duet on piano or harp just as easily as they discuss Transformers or Legos. Julie will warn you that her son’s blonde curls are deceptively angelic, though he is always willing to help move a bench or stand for his ‘aunties’ in the quartet!
Catherine Yom Litaker is an avid soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral musician. She has recently made appearances on Fox’s hit Television series, Empire. Catherine has performed with many Orchestras including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Diego Symphony, Ars Viva Symphony, Dubuque Symphony and Quad City Symphony Orchestra. Festival appearances include tours of South America and China with the YOA Orchestra of the America and Pacific Music Festival (Japan).
A native resident of San Diego, CA, Catherine grew up playing the Harp and Piano from a young age. Catherine went on to receive her Bachelor's degree in Harp Performance from Indiana University, Jacobs School of Music where she studied with Susann Mcdonald with a minor in History. She then moved to Chicago to earn her Master's degree from Roosevelt University, Chicago College of Performing Arts, where her teacher and mentor was Sarah Bullen, Principal Harpist of Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
Catherine currently performs as a freelance harpist in the Los Angeles area.
Praised for her “impressive virtuosity and eye-opening versatility" by Limelight Magazine, harpist Emily Granger performed as a soloist with the Flinders Quartet, Nexas Saxophone Quartet, and Sarah Blasko and as guest Principal Harp with the Chicago, Sydney and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Orchestra Victoria and Opera Australia Orchestra.
Upcoming engagements include an invitation to perform at Extended Play New Music Festival at City Recital Hall, a return to the Craven Creek Music Festival, premiering a new opera by Elliot Gyger and the Sydney Chamber Opera, and performances with the Omega Ensemble and Hourglass Ensemble at the Sydney Opera House.
She earned her Bachelor of Music from Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music where she studied with Susann McDonald, and her Masters of Music from the Chicago College of the Performing Arts studying with Principal Harp of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Sarah Bullen.