Gretchen Van Hoesen has been Principal Harpist of the Pittsburgh Symphony since 1977 and holds the Virginia Campbell chair. She has appeared as soloist with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra on numerous occasions, both on the subscription series and on tour. Ms. Van Hoesen gave the New York premiere of the Alberto Ginastera Harp Concerto in 1976 and the Pittsburgh premiere in 1978. On October 16 and 18, 2015 Gretchen Van Hoesen will perform the Ginastera Concerto with the Pittsburgh Symphony and Jan Pascal Tortelier conducting. She has appeared as soloist with conductors André Previn, Lorin Maazel, James Conlon, Zdnek Macal, Sergiu Comissiona, and Pinchas Zukerman and has collaborated with flutists James Galway, Bernard Goldberg and Jean-Pierre Rampal in performances of Mozart's Concerto for Flute and Harp. Additional appearances with the Pittsburgh Symphony have included performances of the Handel Concerto in B flat, Danses Sacré et Profane by Debussy, Concierto Serenata by Joaquin Rodrigo, and the Concerto for Harp by Rheinhold Gliere. In 1985 Ms. Van Hoesen and her husband, PSO Co-Principal Oboe James Gorton, presented the Pittsburgh premiere of Witold Lutoslawski's Double Concerto for Oboe, Harp and Chamber Orchestra on the Pittsburgh Symphony subscription series. During the 1990-91 season Gretchen Van Hoesen was featured soloist in the Peggy Stuart Coolidge Rhapsody for Harp and Orchestra for the Pittsburgh Symphony Pops series and gave the United States premiere of Suite Concertante for solo harp and orchestra by Manuel Moreno-Buendia in San Antonio, Texas. In 1995 she performed the Gliere Harp Concerto with the Greenville (PA) Symphony, the Sun Valley (ID) Summer Symphony, and the Lake Placid Sinfonietta. In the 2006-7 season, Ms. Van Hoesen premiered two solo harp compositions by Nancy Galbraith and Adam Schoenberg and performed the Mozart Concerto, K. 299 with the Sun Valley Summer Symphony. In March 2008 she presented the world premiere of Sir André Previn’s Concerto for Harp on the Pittsburgh Symphony subscription series. Concert Piece, Op. 65 for Oboe/English horn, Two Harps, and Orchestra by Eugene Goossens closed the orchestra’s subscription season in June 2012.
Ms. Van Hoesen has also performed as soloist with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, the National Orchestral Association, the Greenwich Philharmonia, and the Westmoreland Symphony. She has concertized in the metropolitan New York area at Carnegie Recital Hall, Alice Tully Hall and the Brooklyn Museum, and has presented concertos at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington. Ms.Van Hoesen was winner of the 1978 Passamaneck Competition and appeared in recital at the Y Music Series of the Pittsburgh Jewish Community Center. In 1984 Ms.Van Hoesen opened the Heinz Hall Chamber Music Series with the world premiere of Sonatina for Solo Harp written for her by Paul Schwartz. Ms.Van Hoesen has been a recitalist throughout the Pittsburgh area at Duquesne University, Carnegie Mellon University, Chatham College, Carlow College, Shadyside Concerts, Pittsburgh Chamber Music Project, Rodef Shalom series, California University of Pennsylvania, Slippery Rock University, the Renaissance City Winds series, Geneva College, the Frick Art Museum and the Pittsburgh Peace Institute. She has been a featured soloist at American Harp Society National Conferences in Boston, Pittsburgh, San Antonio, Washington, D.C. and Fredonia, New York. Ms.Van Hoesen has served as a judge for National Competitions of the American Harp Society and has been an officer for the Pittsburgh Chapter of the American Harp Society.
Gretchen Van Hoesen graduated from the Juilliard School of Music earning both B.M. and M.M. degrees in harp as a scholarship student of Marcel Grandjany and Susann McDonald. She is also a graduate of the Eastman School of Music Preparatory Department with highest honors in piano and harp, where she was a student of Eileen Malone. She further studied with Gloria Agostini.
Her credentials as an orchestral musician include performing as Principal Harp in the New York Lyric Opera, the New York City Ballet, the National Orchestral Association, the Greenwich Philharmonia, the Pittsburgh Opera and the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, the Lake Placid Sinfonietta, the Spoleto Festival Orchestra (Italy), the Virginia Opera, the Sun Valley Summer Symphony and the Jeunesses Musicales Orchestra (Germany). She presently holds the Virginia Campbell endowed Principal Harp Chair of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Gretchen Van Hoesen was selected to perform in Tokyo and Osaka, Japan, in the Super World Orchestra 2000, an orchestra made up of key musicians from around the globe.
In 1985, the recording Lullabies and Night Songs was released on the Caedmon label featuring Jan DeGaetani, soprano; Gretchen Van Hoesen, harp; and instrumental ensemble. Ms. Van Hoesen collaborated with her father, bassoonist K. David Van Hoesen, and singer Jan DeGaetani in a recording of the Phyllis McGinley Song Cycle written for them by the late Alec Wilder. In the 1990-91 season, Ms.Van Hoesen performed the world premiere of Blues for Harp, Oboe, and Violoncello by Lawrence Hoffman and presented a master class and oboe/harp duo recital in Taipei, Taiwan.
Composer Robert Kelly wrote and dedicated Modal Variations for Ms. Van Hoesen and her husband, and Suite for Oboe and Harp by James Legg was written for the duo and premiered in March 1993. Pavanes, Pastorales, and Serenades for Oboe and Harp, a CD for Boston Records, was issued in December 1998 with critical raves from around the country. Ms. Van Hoesen collaborated with conductor Rossen Milanov to record the Gliere and Jongen Harp Concertos and Buendiá’s Suite Concertante with the New Symphony Orchestra in Sofia, Bulgaria. These performances are available on Boston Records.
Ms. Van Hoesen is a faculty member at Carnegie Mellon and Duquesne universities and combines teaching there with private students at her home in Pittsburgh. She has given master classes at Duquesne University, the Eastman School of Music, The Curtis Institute of Music, Manhattan School of Music, the University of Illinois, the Aspen Music Festival, the National University of the Arts in Seoul, Korea, and has been an artist-lecturer on numerous series in Pittsburgh as well as throughout the country. She is currently president of the Pittsburgh Chapter of the American Harp Society, and was a faculty member of the Aspen Music Festival and School from 2001-6. Her students have won numerous national awards and prizes.
Gretchen Van Hoesen
7300 Overton St
Pittsburgh, PA 15218