Kirsten Agresta Copely
Adjunct Associate Professor of Harp
Kirsten Agresta Copely has charmed audiences internationally since she began study of the harp at the age of 5. By the time she was 14, she was soloist on a full tour of the British Isles and has since performed extensively as a solo artist throughout the United States, Europe, South America, Israel, Japan, and the South Pacific.
Known for her passionate performances and versatility, Agresta Copely commands a wide range of genres, from classical to hip hop. She has been awarded top international and national honors, including the Bronze Medal in the prestigious 1989 USA International Harp Competition. She debuted as concerto soloist at Lincoln Center (David Geffen Hall) and Carnegie Hall, where she has also performed numerous solo recitals. She has soloed internationally in esteemed venues including National Concert Hall in Dublin, Auditorio Santa Úrsula in Lima, Peru, and MuziekGebouwaan'tij Concert Hall in Amsterdam. She performs as principal harpist with The New York Pops, Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra at Lincoln Center, and regularly with the Nashville Symphony.
Following a feature in People Magazine, Agresta Copely was presented on segments on NBC, CBS and ABC, and later made appearances on MTV, Saturday Night Live, Late Night with David Letterman, The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Late Night with Stephen Colbert, Live with Kelly & Michael, The CBS Early Show, and The Today Show. In Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall, Rockefeller Center, Hollywood Bowl, Ryman Auditorium, and the outdoor concert venues of Live8 and Lollapalooza, Agresta Copely has played alongside Lady Gaga, Stevie Wonder, Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Enya, Michael Bublé, k.d. lang, Andrea Bocelli, Alicia Keys, Kanye West, Declan O'Rourke, Adam Levine, John Legend, and The Roots. She also appeared on the 2014 and 2015 CMA Country Christmas shows, has played the Grand Ole Opry with LeAnn Rimes, Idina Menzel, Carrie Underwood, Alan Jackson, Martina McBride, Dan & Shay, Kelsey Ballerini, and host Jennifer Nettles. She has played harp and keyboards in numerous Broadway productions, including Beauty and the Beast, The King and I, On A Clear Day, Follies, Cinderella, The Pirate Queen, Wonderland, and the 2018 revival of Carousel.
In the studio, she was featured on Erykah Badu's album, New Amerykah Part Two: Return of the Ankh ("Incense"), and can be heard on numerous albums with artists such as Lionel Richie, Alison Krauss, Bonobo, Norwegian soprano Sissel, and Jamie Lidell. She has played on video game, TV and movie soundtracks, including Outlander (Season 3), Star Wars: The Old Republic, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, The Tempest, Sex and the City 2, Disney's The Music of Pixar Live!, My Little Pony: The Movie and the JD Salinger biopic Rebel in the Rye. Most recently, she played on the new Evanescence album, Synthesis, reuniting with her former harp student, lead singer Amy Lee. Agresta Copely is also featured in the video documentary Behind Synthesis, Episode 3.
Agresta Copely has also performed privately for notable officials and dignitaries including: Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, Her Majesty Queen Silvia of Sweden, Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of Jordan, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, and former Vice President Al Gore. In 2010, Kirsten had the privilege of performing with Beyoncé for President & Mrs. Obama at the second official White House State Dinner, honoring Mexican President Felipe Calderón.
Performance highlights include the World Premiere of Constantinides: Concerto for Flute & Harp at Lincoln Center (David Geffen Hall), the MET Gala with musical guest Frank Ocean, "4 Intimate Nights with Beyoncé" at New York's Roseland Ballroom, with Jay Z at Carnegie Hall, benefiting United Way of NYC and the Shawn Carter Scholarship Foundation, and performing with multiple artists for Tony Bennett Celebrates 90: The Best is Yet to Come at Radio City Music Hall, which aired on NBC.
Agresta Copely studied with Nancy Allen at The Juilliard School and Distinguished Professor Susann McDonald at Indiana University. She received her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from Indiana University, where she was awarded the Performer’s Certificate for outstanding musical performance and also served as Associate Instructor of the Harp Department from 1991-93. She is Adjunct Associate Professor of Harp at Vanderbilt University Blair School of Music, a former Affiliated Artist at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, NY, and teaches private harp & piano lessons from her studio in Nashville and New York. She is a member of the World Harp Congress Board of Directors, Vice President of the American Harp Society Nashville Chapter, a Voting Member of the Grammy Recording Academy (NARAS), and a member of ASCAP.