"I didn't know a harp could do that!" is a remark often heard at Laurie Riley's concerts. Known for her ability to make a harp sound like a whole new instrument, she can make it speak, make it laugh and cry. Audiences feel her music as a visceral experience.
Among her many credits, Laurie has appeared in concert as harpist to The Chieftains (2003), in a tribute to the late Derek Bell. She was also the first American harpist to be invited to judge and perform for the prestigious International O'Carolan Festival in County Roscommon, Ireland, in 1997, and has toured throughout the US and in Canada since 1985.
She plays traditional, ethnic, and contemporary selections from around the world, as well as compositions of her own, on three types of harps: the Celtic harp, the rare double-strung harp, and the historical wire-strung harp. Each harp has a unique sound and personality, offering a wide range of musical styles.
She has recorded twelve albums of harp music, authored numerous books, and made five instructional videos. Her music has been featured on American Airlines and on the Narada Collections, and she has appeared on NPR's All Things Considered. She also judges harp competitions and teaches in the US and abroad.
"As a musician, I am gratefully aware that I hold in my hands the experience of music as a metaphor for life, which is offered as a gift to all who gather to listen."
"Laurie Riley is a superb harpist with an unusual sound due to her Celtic-based but international outlook and her double-string harp (two rows of strings that sound like two harps playing at once). Few harpists in the world can play Celtic and South American styles alike, never mind tunes that have echoes of such divergent styles." D. C. Donovan, Editor, World Discoveries.
"You have helped open so many doors for me, in so many ways; I'm very grateful."
- Harper Tasche, harpist and friend
"Your music opened me... to the sense of incredible beauty and wonder."
- a fellow musician