Janice Ortega, San Francisco Bay Area Harpist
Education and early career highlights

I graduated Magna Cum Laude, Bachelor of Arts in Music from California State University East Bay.  In the course of my  studies at Cal State, I was an active member of the New Music Ensemble directed by Nathan Rubin, Concertmaster of the Oakland Symphony Orchestra. I was often featured as soloist in the Music Department chamber and orchestral concerts. Off-campus, I frequently played harp for service organizations and performed as principal harp in many Bay Area orchestras.

I continued my harp study on scholarship with Juilliard Professor Nancy Allen, Principal Harpist of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra.

The Royal Conservatory of the
Netherlands was home to my graduate studies in harp performance where I received the Artist Diploma. Several scholarships enabled me to study with Phia Berghout, Principal Harpist with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, in Amsterdam. Phia Berghout was described by The Independent newspaper of the UK, 27 March 1993, as “arguably the most influential harpist this century.

I was featured in concert on radio and television in various venues including a Dutch documentary for the harp and a Dutch version of “Name That Tune.” All themes were played by the Harp Trio, an international ensemble of  which I was a member with harpists from Japan and Australia. I continued performances throughout Holland and Belgium as harpist for “Live Music Now”, a foundation established by Yehudi Menuin to provide music to the public at large.
I received the Artist Diploma at the Royal Conservatory of the Netherlands. Immediately following her post-graduate studies at the Royal Conservatory, I performed as second harp with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra under the direction of Kiril Kondrashin.

I received the Master of Music degree in harp performance with a Pedagogy Minor from Indiana University-Bloomington. I studied with Susann McDonald, Professor Emeritus at Indiana University-Bloomington, who formerly chaired the Harp Department at the Juilliard School of Music in New York.

Indiana University has an internationally active harp alumni. Students are highly skilled musicians who are training for orchestral auditions, international harp competitions, and solo harp careers.

My training was extensive and my specializations included:

- improvisational jazz harp
- pedagogy (the theory and practical approach to teaching harp performance)
- advanced theory and ear training
- open score reading (advanced sight reading and transpositional proficiency)
- keyboard facility
- figured bass reading.

I studied harp maintenance through Indiana University’s technology curriculum with the world-renown makers of Lyon and Healey Harps, Chicago. With over 2,000 moving parts in a Concert Grand Pedal Harp, this was a valuable addition to my studies at Indiana University!