Rita Dunn

Soothing Reflections

Rita Dunn is from Greenville, South Carolina and started her first harp lesson at age seven. She and her twin sister, Susan, a violinist, started their ensemble, Soothing Reflections LLC, performing for weddings, special events, etc. at age nine and made their first CD at age eleven. Rita has competed and won first place several times in national high school harp competitions, placed twice in a national chamber ensemble competition, was the First Place Winner of the Rise Symposium at Converse University in 2023 (in Music), and a 2024 Winner of the Charleston International Music Competition. Her experience also includes playing in an American folk music group for five years, being the traditional Celtic harpist for the Irish "Return to the Green" festival in Greenville, South Carolina, and performing a traditional Hawaiian music concert at the famous Kawaiahao Church of the Monarchs in Honolulu. She has been the featured soloist in Danse sacree et Danse profane in The Greenville Summer Chamber Music Ensemble, and harpist for the Young Artists Orchestra, Spartanburg Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, and Furman University Orchestra. She is a harpist for professional orchestras including Aiken Symphony, The Greenville Symphony, South Carolina Philharmonic, Spartanburg Philharmonic, and The Lima Symphony of Ohio. Rita completed her B.M. Harp Performance degree at Converse University studying under John Wickey (Greenville Symphony principal harpist and former student of famous Salzedo harpist, Lucille Lawrence). She served the Converse Symphony as Principal harpist, and performed as a soloist in Mozart's Flute and Harp Concerto with the orchestra (May 2024). She has taken masterclasses with prominent harpists including Dr. Susann McDonald, Dr. Lynne Aspnes, and Dr. Abigail Kent. She is excited to learn from The Florida Orchestra harpist, Ms. Anna Kate Mackle, at Eastern Music Festival this summer. Rita is also very happy to be returning to Varna after having served in 2022 as an assistant to the Director, music librarian, and a harpist with the faculty ensemble. In the fall of 2024, Rita will continue her harp education at The Cleveland Institute of Music studying under Yolanda Kondonassis who is considered one of the world's premier solo harpists and the most recorded classical harpist in the world.