International harpist Dominique Piana enjoys a multi-faceted career of performing, teaching, recording, arranging, composing, writing and advocating for the arts in the community. Born in Belgium into a family of German background, Ms. Piana grew up in a French-speaking neighborhood of the Brussels region and was educated in the humanities, with an emphasis on Latin and Greek. She studied piano throughout childhood at several Music Academies and turned to the harp just before entering the Royal Conservatory of Music as a student of Francette Bartholomée. Within a year, she was hired as solfège teacher in two Brussels academies. Later she also commuted to Paris for lessons with Frédérique Cambreling and Pierre Jamet.
In 1980, at the invitation of master teacher Susann McDonald, Ms. Piana moved to Southern California. Following a brief stint at California State University, Los Angeles, she earned a Master of Arts degree in Harp Performance from Claremont Graduate University, under the tutelage of JoAnn Turovsky. She served as Adjunct Professor of Harp at the University of Redlands (from1985) and La Sierra University in Riverside (from1982). After moving to the San Francisco Bay area in 2001, she joined the faculty of Holy Names University in Oakland. Over the years, she has integrated different pedagogical methods into a “whole person approach” emphasizing the synergy of the musical and personal inner development.
As a solo performer, Ms. Piana has made a specialty of historical recitals. From 1996 she toured extensively throughout the Western States (and beyond) with her 19th c. music and poetry program The Romantic Spirit, designed to reveal the emotional substance underlying the enchantment associated with romantic harp writing.
As a chamber musician, Ms. Piana has partnered with voice, violin, cello, flute, clarinet, organ and piano in duo recitals and with larger ensembles. Locally, she has founded and leads the Pleasanton Chamber Players since 2003. She has also soloed in various works with orchestra (as well as symphonic band). She performed the West Coast première of the Concerto for Harp by the Belgian composer Joseph Jongen in five Southern California performances (1991-92) and premiered her own edition of the Albertoetter’s Ballade (2007) in Livermore. She has performed most of the major choir works with harp and participates in the yearly Nutcracker performances of the Livermore-Amador Symphony. In 1986, she founded the Inland Harp Ensemble, in residence at the University of Redlands, conducting her harp students in many regional appearances.
Ms. Piana is listed in the International Who’s Who in Music since 1990. She devised the programming for the 1992 National Harp Conference of the American Harp Society in San Diego. A finalist in the 1995 Pro Musicis Auditions in New York, she was accepted on the touring roster of the California Arts Council for the 2000-2002 seasons. In 2003, she served as a member of the jury for the International Harp Contest “Félix Godefroid” in Namur, Belgium. She has given various master classes and lecture-demonstrations for the yearly conference Harpe Diem in Flanders since 2004. Locally, she has served a member of the Alameda County Arts Commission and a board member of the Pleasanton Cultural Arts Council, and curates the classical music series at the new Firehouse Arts Center in Pleasanton.
Ms. Piana has released three CD’s: Lulling the Soul, Carols of Love and Wonder; The Harp of King David, Songs of Longing and Hope; and Beyond Dreams, The Spirit of Romanticism. Since 2003 she has also edited and published over 120 titles of transcriptions and original harp music with historical commentaries, through her company Harpiana Publications. Her musicological articles have been published in the American Harp Journal, the Bulletin of the International Association of Harpists in France and the Revue Musicale Belge.
Geelvinck Salon 28 augustus 2011: “The Romantic Spririt”