Harpist, hammered dulcimer player, harp teacher,
recording artist, hammered dulcimer teacher.
Asheville, North Carolina
Photo by Berkson Photography
Donna studied both music and speech/language pathology at Cleveland State University where she received her masters degree. Music studies included voice and classical guitar. Donna began her professional music career in the 1970’s as a singer and guitarist. She performed in coffeehouses in the Cleveland, Ohio area. After moving to North Carolina for her work in speech pathology, she was introduced to the hammered dulcimer. She began by building an instrument from a kit. She learned the structure of the instrument as well as a good deal of respect for the professional instrument builders! Due to the fact that there is limited music written for hammered dulcimer, Donna began transcribing music from classical guitar and adapting it to the dulcimer. She has attended master classes in the performance of both classical and Celtic music on the hammered dulcimer but has been primarily self taught on the instrument. She currently plays 3½ and 4½ octave hammered dulcimers built by Jerry Read Smith.
In 1993, Donna began to study the Celtic harp and gradually moved to the classical pedal harp as well. This has included formal training with the Salzedo method for pedal harp in order to develop the required technique and hand skills for this instrument. She plays a Celtic harp built by David Thormahlen and a Lyon and Healy pedal harp. Donna’s harp training includes a formal classical approach and workshops with Celtic harpists, Kim Robertson, Sue Richards, Tina Tourin and Laurie Riley.
In addition to those Celtic harpists, Donna’s influences include Loreena McKinnett, for Celtic singing and Celtic harp, No Strings Attached for hammered dulcimer, Alisdair Frasier for Scottish music and Maire Brennan of Clannad.
Currently, Donna performs as a soloist and with various ensembles. Donna has played pedal harp with the Blue Ridge Harp Ensemble and currently performs with Classic Touch, a dulcimer and classical guitar duo (David Stevenson, classical guitar) and Highland Fling (fiddle, Celtic harp and hammered dulcimer.) . As a soloist, Donna may perform with hammered dulcimer, Celtic harp or pedal harp. She plays regularly at the Biltmore House and Grove Park Inn in Asheville as well as for many weddings and corporate events throughout each year.
Donna’s recordings include:
Harmonious; classical and Celtic music for harp and hammered dulcimer
Lo, How a Rose Christmas recording
Highland Fing with fiddle, harp and dulcimer
World Music Favorites
On Wings of Song
Spirits on the Wing
She has also completed Hospice training and has used her music for critically ill and dying patients. She teaches harp and hammered dulcimer to adults and children of various ages and interests.
“I love both the harp and hammered dulcimer and they have taken over my life! I have a weakness
for beautiful melodies, whether classical or folk, and love to bring these sounds to people who have
previously been unfamiliar with these instruments. Hammered dulcimer music is more than just jigs
and reels!” Donna