Marguerite Lynn Williams is the Principal Harpist of the Lyric Opera of Chicago. 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). An avid chamber musician, Ms. Williams is a founding member of the Chicago Harp Quartet, International Chamber Artists, and La Folia (Harp & Flute). Along with performing at music festivals around the world with these ensembles, she often collaborates with musicians from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Lyric Opera of Chicago.
A distinguished pedagogue, Marguerite is a member of the faculty at both the Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University and the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. With a deep passion for teaching, she is the founder of the Chicago Harp Ensemble and has been the Director of this student ensemble since 2010.
Ms. Williams has performed in a range of distinguished venues such as the Berliner Philharmonie, Carnegie Hall (New York), National Centre for the Performing Arts (Beijing), Philharmonie de Paris, Royal Albert Hall (London), Symphony Center (Chicago), Tchaikovsky Concert Hall (Moscow), and Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall. She has also had the pleasure to work with some of the world’s most famous conductors including Daniel Barenboim, Pierre Boulez, Sir Andrew Davis, Sir Colin Davis, Gustavo Dudamel, Valery Gergiev, Bernard Haitink, Lorin Maazel, Riccardo Muti, and Michael Tilson Thomas. She has appeared with some of the finest orchestras in North America including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, San Diego Symphony, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and Toronto Symphony.
Ms. Williams was a prizewinner at the American Harp Society, American Opera Society, Anne Adams Award, National Federation of Music Clubs, Sigma Alpha Iota and Young Arts competitions. She has appeared as a featured performer and lecturer at American Harp Society conventions and the World Harp Congress in Vancouver as well as served as judge for both the American Harp Society and Young Artist’s Harp Competitions.
Born in Dayton, OH, Ms. Williams began her music studies at five on the piano and at fourteen on the harp. 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, where she received her M.M. studying with Sarah Bullen. Following her studies, she served as Principal Harpist of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and the New World Symphony (Miami, FL).
Julie Spring has performed internationally as soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral harpist. She has held the position of Principal Harp of the Hartford Symphony, Toronto Symphony, and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, as well as substitute with the Chicago Lyric Opera, Chicago Symphony, and Baltimore Symphony Orchestras. Her solo and chamber music appearances have taken her to stages throughout the United States, Canada, and Havana, Cuba.
Her formative mentors were Sarah Bullen (Principal Harp, Chicago Symphony Orchestra) and Kathleen Bride (Professor of Harp, Eastman School of Music). Julie received her Bachelor of Music degree in both Harp Performance and Instrumental Music Education, in addition to a Performer’s Certificate from Eastman School of Music in 2005. She received her Masters degree in Orchestral Studies from the Chicago College of Performing Arts, Roosevelt University, in 2007.
Julie is a passionate teacher and pedagogue. She currently serves as lead instructor of Chicago Harp Ensemble Downtown and is Orchestra director at O'Neill Middle School, Downers Grove. Her belief in self-enrichment through musical means drives her work to continually make music accessible to all.
Julie loves biking, hiking, bowling, and puzzles that are challenging (within reason). She hails from Lombard, Illinois, where she is raising her son. They enjoy trains, dinosaurs, transformers, and regular cuddles with their cats, Bettie and Annie.
Catherine Yom Litaker is an avid soloist, chamber musician and orchestral musician. She has performed on countless stages all across the globe including Western Europe, South America, North America and Asia. She currently performs as a freelance harpist in the Los Angeles area, and played Principal Harpist of Civic Orchestra during the 2010 - 2012 season. She has performed with many Orchestras including: Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Diego Symphony, Ars Viva Symphony, Dubuque Symphony and Quad City Symphony Orchestra. Catherine is currently an active substitute for Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Lyric Opera of Chicago. She has also participated in many festivals around the world including YOA Orchestra of the Americas on the South American tour, China tour and Pacific Music Festival in Japan.
In addition to being a founding member of the Quartet, Catherine is an avid promoter of new music. Always eager to collaborate as a performer and recording artist, Catherine has participated in many recording projects including film, and sound recordings. She has recently made appearances on Fox’s hit Television series, Empire.
A native resident of San Diego, CA, Catherine grew up playing the Harp and Piano from a young age. As a young harpist, Catherine won the San Diego Symphony's Hot Shots Competition as well as received awards from ASTA and the American Harp Society. 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.
Loving to teach and coach students, Catherine currently has a private studio, teaches at the Chicago School of Music and is a coach for Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra and an instructor for the Chicago Harp Ensemble. Being a huge advocate for the exposure of classical music, she has been directly involved in many outreach and non-profit organizations and concerts.
Emily Ann Granger "delivered a defiant demonstration, not just of impressive virtuosity, but of eye-opening versatility as well." - Limelight Magazine
Growing up in Kansas City, Emily began playing the harp at age 11. She has performed extensively with orchestras across the globe including Chicago, Sydney and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Orchestra Victoria and Opera Australia Orchestra.
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.
Some of Emily's most notable performances have included recitals at the Sydney Opera House Utzon Room, Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall, Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage, Curtis Institute of Music and Lyon & Healy Hall. She has performed with renowned musicians Yo-Yo Ma, Renée Fleming, Jonas Kaufmann, Janelle Monáe and Diesel and has worked with the Flinders String Quartet and Nexus Saxophone Quartet.
Emily served as the Principal Harp of the Chicago Civic Orchestra from 2012-2014. Her performances are often heard both live and recorded on WFMT and Fine Music Radio. She is the recipient of the 2015 Farewell Trust Award, first prize winner of the CCPA Concerto Competition, and semi-finalist at the Fischoff International Chamber Music Competition.
As an educator, Emily has served on faculty at VanderCook College of Music, British School of Chicago, and Chicago Harp Ensemble. She has taught at the Interlochen Center for the Arts and presented masterclasses at Indiana University, Kansas University and the Lyra Harp Chapter of Kansas City.
As an avid hiker, Granger successfully walked the Te Araroa - a 3,007 kilometer trail across New Zealand taking 138 days to complete the journey from Cape Reinga to Bluff. In recent years she has completed a through hike of California's John Muir Trail (400k), Camino de Santiago (880k) across Spain in the winter, climbed 14 of Colorado's highest mountains in one week and Australia's 15 highest mountains.