Canmore is fortunate to call World-renowned harpist Deborah Nyack a local resident.
Broadway Musical producer David Milford calls her ‘The Stradivarius of harpists’.
She learned to play the harp at four years of age despite the fact that there were no harpists in her family.
“I just wanted to play the harp,” Nyack said. “It’s like it’s from a previous life.”
Her passion for music and playing the harp is a gift, she said.
“It’s my calling,” Nyack, also known as the Harp Angel, said. “It’s so beautiful and people love the music. I have thousands of fans all around the world. Fans contact me all the time to ask where I am playing next.”
Nyack studied with a full scholarship at the top music schools in the world including the Eastman School of Music in New York City and the Royal Academy of Music in London, England and she was one of the first women of colour to study at those schools. She also studied at New York’s Julliard School of Music and the Banff Centre for the Arts. She holds a Bachelor of Music with highest honours, a Masters of Music and an award of Outstanding Performer’s Certificate.
You may be lucky enough to hear Nyack playing her harp at either the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel or the Fairmont Palliser Hotel. She has been a regular musician at Fairmont hotels for the past 30 years.
Nyack has also performed at Carnegie Hall and has had Royal Command Performances for Royalty including Princess Diana as well as for the Governor General of Canada and she has given performances for many American Presidents, Canadian Prime Ministers and dignitaries from England, Yemen, Israel, Jordan, France, Japan, Taiwan and Nigeria. Movie stars seek her out for private performances, including Cuba Gooding Jr., Robin Williams, William Shatner, Glen Close, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Michael Douglas, Alec Baldwin and Robin Leach. She has opened for Neil Sedaka and Lyle Lovett. Nyack has even played her harp at 5,500 feet on top of a mountain.
Nyack just returned from two weeks in China where she was invited to perform and teach students there.
“China is ahead of us in the aspect of understanding the arts,” Nyack said. “Because technology and artificial intelligence is merging and taking over a lot of our world, China has recognized that it’s the arts and expression of the human soul that will distinguish the difference between man and machine. What distinguishes us as people is the arts, emotion and expression of beauty, which a machine cannot do.”
China invited her because of her expertise to share and teach music with heart, she said.
“It’s the experience of live music that makes the connection from heart to heart and soul to soul,” Nyack said. “It’s an experience that people are looking for now. Live music takes the whole experience up 100 notches.”
She gave master classes to students while she was in Bejing and Xian, China.
“I’m recognized around the world for my sound and artistic expression in harp playing,” Nyack said.
Her home is full of many different kinds of hand carved harps including beautiful gold concert harps, Celtic harps and antique harps. As a single mother, she raised two children who are now in University.
“In China, they pay all their artists a living wage,” Nyack said. “Because they deem it that important. In Canada, we struggle to be recognized and for people to realize the importance of the arts.”
For more information or to book Nyack for a wedding or performance or to purchase a DVD, please visit her website at www.harpangel.com.