At the age of 2 Alyssa Katahara began her musical journey playing violin but was quickly captivated by the harp prompting her to take up the instrument at 5 years old. Alyssa grew up as a military child, so throughout her childhood she was immersed in a multitude of cultures across the world spanning 9 various states and countries from Hawaii to Germany. This afforded her the opportunity to study with a myriad of inspirational harpists who each carefully guided her in her musical journey.
Currently based out of Vancouver, British Columbia, Alyssa Katahara was appointed the principal harpist of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra in 2022. She previously held the principal harp position in the Venice Symphony and American Youth Symphony and has additionally performed alongside the Los Angeles Opera, Los Angeles Master Chorale, and New World Symphony.
Alyssa spent her summers as a fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center, Orchestra of the Americas, Music Academy of the West, and National Repertory Orchestra. She spent other summers studying at the Aspen Music Festival and School with world renown harpists Nancy Allen and Sivan Magen along with the Académie Internationale d’Été de Nice with Berlin Philharmonic principal harpist, Marie-Pierre Langlamet.
Alyssa has been awarded top prize in numerous solo and concerto competitions. Most recently, Alyssa was awarded second prize in the Young Professional division of the American Harp Society National Competition. Consequently, as part of the Winners Outreach Program, she presented at the 2022 American Harp Society Conference. There she performed Debussy’s Cello Sonata with Israel Philharmonic’s cellist Gal Nyska in a masterclass given by Sivan Magen. As the grand prize winner of the Hennings-Fischer Young Artists competition, Alyssa appeared as a featured artist with the Burbank Philharmonic. Alyssa has also performed as a soloist with the Colburn Conservatory Orchestra, Pasadena Community Orchestra, National Repertory Orchestra, National Philharmonic, and Interlochen Arts Camp Philharmonic, among others.
A passionate music educator, Alyssa strives to make the harp a more accessible instrument. While living in Los Angeles, California, she was on the harp department faculty for the Colburn School’s Jumpstart Program where students are provided tuition-free music instruction and instruments. Now in Vancouver, British Columbia she continues to grow her studio at the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra School of Music.
Alyssa is an Interlochen Arts Academy graduate where she studied with Joan Holland. She continued her harp studies at the Colburn Conservatory of Music with JoAnn Turovsky where she received her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in harp performance with an emphasis in pedagogy.