Patricia Harris is celebrating her 50th year as Principal Harpist with the Tucson Symphony. She began her harp studies at the age of 8 with her mother Anne Adams, principal harpist with the San Francisco Symphony and San Francisco Opera. Mrs. Harris continued her studies at the University of Arizona and earned her bachelors, masters and music education degrees, majoring in harp performance. She has performed with groups all over Arizona and California including the Flagstaff Festival Orchestra, the Arizona Opera Orchestra, the Phoenix Symphony, the Tucson Pops Orchestra, the Mendocino Music Festival, and the San Francisco Symphony. Patricia loves playing in the Tucson Symphony and in the TSO Harp Trio with flute and viola, particularly specializing in playing for young children in school settings. She enjoys teaching and has taught students ranging from age 5 to 85. She has made several recordings including her acclaimed “Two Harps as One” featuring Patricia and her mother, a Christmas CD with solo and trio works, and her latest in honor of her first grandchild “Sweet Dreams.”
Patricia has been married for many years to her husband John, a bass player she met in the TSO and Osteopathic Physician. She is the mother of two grown sons who also were involved in music through high school. including performing in Carnegie Hall with the Tucson Philharmonia Youth Orchestra. They have both served in the military as officers and are continuing life with successful careers. She also enjoys her dog Winston, her horse Leo, and playing tennis.
When did you start playing the harp?
I began my harp studies at age 8.
Why did you choose your instrument?
There was a harp in the living room and my mom was a professional harpist. It has a wonderful sound and is beautiful to look at.
Are you from a musical family?
My grandmother was a concert pianist and her mother was a singer.
What is your favorite piece for orchestra?
Anything with harp in it.
Hobbies?: I play tennis. I take tennis lessons and feel that a teacher is a better teacher if they are also a student. I also ride horses. I enjoy cooking and taking care of my family – a husband and two young men who are in college.
Pets:I have a wonderful yellow lab named Saber. He loves to listen to me practice. I also have a horse named Yoda who is 28 years old.