Q & A
Get to know Ben Albertson
How did you start playing the harp?
When I was about seven years old, my parents took to me to an orchestra concert in my hometown of Olympia, Washington. I saw the harp standing out in the orchestra, and I was in love with its sound and visual beauty. I went up to touch the instrument after the concert, and I was thoroughly interested. I asked my parents if I could play the instrument, and they said they weren't sure about that. It is hard to take a seven year old seriously when the want one thing one moment and another thing the next. A good part of a year passed, and I kept bugging my parents about it.
Eventually, a solo harpist by the name of Emmanuel Ceysson, who is now the principal harpist at the Los Angeles Philharmonic, came to my hometown to do a solo recital. My parents saw how at the age of seven or eight; I throughly listened and enjoyed the hour and a half long harp concert. At that point, they started to take my desire seriously. A few months after that concert, I received my first tiny harp (only a few feet high)! From then on, I moved up to being the professional harpist that I am today.
What are some of your other interests outside of the harp?
I grew up in Washington State, which has beautiful natural surroundings. I have always loved being in the mountains and by the ocean. I love hiking, skiing, and kayaking. I also grew up sailing, and if it weren't for the harp, I would have loved to have joined the sailing team in high school. When I get the chance, I also love to travel for fun, and I have been extremely fortunate to have been able to travel to several countries outside of the USA and Canada.
Why did you pursue the harp as a career?
I felt that early on I had enough momentum to make a career out of the instrument. I remember the moment came at the end of 8th grade. I was performing Debussy's Clair de Lune at my middle school's graduation ceremony, and I knew that I wanted to be doing this for the rest of my life. It was just so beautiful, and I couldn't imagine life doing anything else.