Principal Harpist of the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Marguerite Lynn Williams has performed throughout the United States, Europe and Asia as a soloist, chamber musician and with some of the World’s greatest orchestras. She is the Principal Harpist of the Chicago Philharmonic and a founding member of International Chamber Artists, Fifth House Ensemble, Lyrica Trio and the Chicago Harp Quartet. She performed as acting Principal Harp of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for the 2008-2009 season and has toured with the orchestra to Carnegie Hall and extensively throughout Asia. Ms. Williams also toured Europe as guest Principal Harpist of the St. Louis Symphony and appeared as guest artist with the Grant Park Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony, Phoenix Symphony, Ravinia Festival Orchestra, San Diego Symphony, and Toronto Symphony. She held the position of Principal Harp with the New World Symphony from 2006-08, the Civic Orchestra from 2004-06, New Philharmonic 2001-06 and the Colorado Music Festival from 2004-2013.
Ms. Williams has won numerous National competitions including the American Harp Society’s National competition in 1996 and 2009, the Anne Adams Award in 1997 and 1998, Young Arts Foundation, National Federation of Music Clubs, American Opera Society, and Sigma Alpha Iota. She is under high demand as concerto soloist and has performed with the Ars Viva Symphony, Chamber Music Charleston, Chicago Philharmonic Orchestra, Handel Society, International Chamber Artists, Lake Shore Symphony, Mozart in the South Festival, Music of the Baroque, New World Symphony, Colorado Music Festival Orchestra, and Roosevelt University Chamber Orchestra. 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.
Marguerite Lynn Williams attended the Eastman School of Music (BM, PC) studying with Kathleen Bride and Roosevelt University (MM) studying with Sarah Bullen. Previously on faculty at the Frost School of Music, University of Miami, Ms. Williams is the Head of the Harp Department at Roosevelt University and Trinity International University and maintains a private harp studio in Chicago. She is the Founder and Director of the Chicago Harp Ensemble. Along with being a passionate pedagogue, she is an avid arranger and composer of harp music with well over 100 arrangements and original compositions published.
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 Chicagoland 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.