Teacher – Sydney Conservatorium and ANAM; Director – Seven Harp Ensemble; Artistic Director – World Harp Congress 2014, Sydney
Australian Hometown: Adelaide
Education: Sydney Conservatorium High School;
Australian National University School of Music
Alice Giles has been celebrated as one of the world’s leading harp soloists. The Australian-born musician first attracted international notice when she won First Prize in the 8th Israel International Harp Contest at the age of 21. Since then she has performed extensively internationally both in recital and with orchestra. She presented her first solo recital at the age of 13 at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, was awarded the coveted Churchill International Fellowship and an Australia Council Grant to study in the USA and made her New York debut recital at Merkin Hall in 1983.
Regarded by Luciano Berio as the foremost interpreter of his Sequenza II, she has taken part in tributes to Berio at the Queen Elizabeth Hall London, Salzburg Mozarteum, and at the 92nd Street Y in New York to honour his 70th birthday. She has given many premiere performances for her instrument, has commissioned a complete program of works for the electro-acoustic harp, and is Director of the Seven Harp Ensemble (SHE), which has commissioned many new works by Australian composers.
As a recipient of an Australian Antarctic Arts Fellowship, she performed a solo concert at Mawson Station in 2011 commemorating the Centenary of the first Australasian Antarctic Expedition.
She was invited by Rudolf Serkin to participate for three summers in the Marlboro Music Festival in Vermont, USA, and has been a guest artist at numerous festivals including the Schleswig-Holstein and Insel Hombroich Festivals in Germany, Bath Mozartfest, Scotia Festival, Salzedo Centennial in Austin Texas, World Harp Congresses in Copenhagen and Vancouver, World Harp Festival Cardiff, Edinburgh Harp Festival, Adelaide Festival, Sydney Festival, Australian Festival of Chamber Music, Barossa, Coriole, Huntington, Four Winds and UKARIA Festivals.
Concert highlights include solo recitals in London’s Wigmore Hall, New York’s 92nd Street Y, Merkin Hall NY, Frankfurt Alte Oper, Gulbenkian Foundation Lisbon, and concertos with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Collegium Musicum Zürich, Badische Staatskapelle Karlsruhe, English Symphony Orchestra, Mainzer Kammerorchester, Danish Radio Concert Orchestra, Hamburg Mozart Orchestra, Ohio Chamber Orchestra, Lincoln Symphony Orchestra, Taiwan Symphony Orchestra, Israel Chamber Orchestra and regularly with all the major Australian Symphony and Chamber orchestras.
Alice Giles has an impressive international reputation as a teacher, having given master classes in the Salzburg Mozarteum, The Hague Conservatorium, Royal Academy London, Cleveland Institute, Juilliard School, Curtis Institute, San Francisco Conservatory, Conservatorio G. Verdi Milano, Parma Conservatorio, Glenn Gould School Toronto, Detmold Hochschule, R. Schumann Hochschule, Norwegian Academy of Music, the International Youth Festival in Bayreuth, an annual Summer Course in Alf/Mosel, Germany 1989-1998, and currently teaches at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Her annual Summer Course is held in Kioloa on the NSW South Coast.
She was the Chair and the Artistic Director of the 2014 World Harp Congress in Sydney in July 2014 and is founder and director of the Harp Centre Australia, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the harp in Australia. She was on the jury for both the 1998 and 2009 International Harp Contests in Israel, the 2004 USA International Harp Competition, 2007 V. Salvi European Harp Competition Cardiff and the IX Concourso Nationale d’Arpa ‘Victor Salvi’. Her two principal teachers were June Loney (Sydney Symphony Orchestra) and Alice Chalifoux (Cleveland Orchestra), also studying with Lydia Shaxson and Judith Liber (Israel Philharmonic).
Her discography includes several solo harp discs, a concerto disc with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, conductor David Porcelijn, and many chamber music discs including with Duo Corda (Arnan Wiesel, piano), the Budapest Brass Quintet, Seven Harp Ensemble, and Geoffrey Collins (flute), for the Tall Poppies, Musikado (Germany), ABC Classics, CDI (Israel), and Marlboro Recording Society labels.
She was awarded an AM (Member of the Order of Australia) in the 2017 Queen’s Birthday Honours for “significant service to the performing arts as a harpist, mentor and educator, and through contributions to Australia’s musical landscape.”
Last updated 2022