The American Harp Society Foundation Board of Directors and Competition Committee are proud to announce the three winners of the 2020 Anne Adams Competition (alphabetical listing):

Kaitlin Miller, student of Prof. Jaymee Haefner, University of North Texas
Juan Riveros, student of Prof. Yolanda Kondonassis, The Cleveland Institute of Music
Claire Thai, student of Prof. Elizabeth Hainen, The Curtis Institute of Music

We also congratulate:

Heather Cornelius, Honorable Mention, student of Prof. Kathy Kienzle, University of Minnesota Twin Cities

All of the finalists deserve our hearty congratulations for exceptionally fine performances, along with wonderful cooperative spirit, and professional comportment. We also thank all of the teachers, family members, and others who supported our finalists during this pioneer venture of an online competition.

Kaitlin Miller

Sicilienne Variée (1966) by Jean-Michel Damase (1928-2013)

Kaitlin Miller

Kaitlin Miller has difficulty finding anything more enjoyable than playing the harp and exploring the musical capabilities of the instrument. She is an active performer in ensemble, chamber, and solo settings and particularly enjoys performing French music and new works by living composers. Kaitlin has performed throughout the United States in cities such as Chicago, Denver, Dallas, and Los Angeles.  She earned two Bachelor of Music degrees in music theory and harp performance at the University of North Texas in 2021 under the instruction of Dr. Jaymee Haefner. She is currently pursuing a Master of Music degree at the University of Southern California as a teaching assistant with JoAnn Turovsky. Kaitlin is an active orchestral performer in the Los Angeles area and has enjoyed performing with American Youth Symphony, California Young Artists Symphony, Downey Symphony and more. By the end of her collegiate career, it is Kaitlin’s personal goal to have played in a duo or trio with every orchestral instrument; she has recently added tuba, organ, and saxophone to the queue. Kaitlin won the 2019 AHS in Dallas Scholarship Competition and was selected as one of the winners for the 2020 Anne Adams Awards Competition. She was also a finalist at the 2017 AHS National Competition, 2018 YAHS Competition, and UNT Concerto Competition. When not performing, you will find Kaitlin outside enjoying nature or in a local coffee shop with friends.

Juan Riveros

Spanish Dance from “La vida breve” by Manuel de Falla, transcribed by Marcel Grandjany

Juan Riveros

Juan Riveros is a harpist, teacher, and music theorist, currently pursuing a PhD in Music Theory at the University of Michigan. Mr. Riveros recently completed his Master’s of Music in Harp Performance at the Cleveland Institute of Music, studying under the tutelage of Yolanda Kondonassis. Past accolades include Third Place in the Young Professional Division of the 2019 AHS National Competition, Grand Prize Winner of the Lewisville Lake International Concerto Competition, a Winner of the 2020 Anne Adams Awards Competition, Fifth Place in the Young Professional Division of the 2021 AHS National Competition, and a 2022 Lyon and Healy Award.

Mr. Riveros holds a Bachelor of Music in Harp Performance and Music Theory from the Cleveland Institute of Music. Hisfirst publication, “Concert Fantasy on Pájaro Campana,” is available for purchase from Lyon and Healy. Mr. Riveros maintains a private studio, dedicated to a comprehensive approach to performance and pedagogy, and is the Administrative Coordinator for the Maine Coast Harp Institute, with Yolanda Kondonassis. 

Claire Thai

Introduction and Allegro by Maurice Ravel

Claire Thai, from Tucson, Ariz., entered the Curtis Institute of Music in 2018 and studied harp with Elizabeth Hainen. All students at Curtis receive merit-based, full-tuition scholarships, and Ms. Thai is the L. Daniel Dannenbaum Fellow.

Ms. Thai has appeared as a soloist with the Phoenix, Tucson, and Southern Arizona symphony orchestras; and she performed a solo program at the World Harp Congress in 2017. She served as principal harp of the Tucson Philharmonic Youth Orchestra from 2015 to 2018. In the summers, she has attended the Rocky Ridge Music Center and the Young Artists’ Harp Seminar.

Ms. Thai received a Lyon & Healy Award in 2019 and won first prizes at the International Portuguese Harp Competition and the International Young Artists’ Harp Competition in the 2017–18 season. In addition to several solo harp competition awards, she won the Grand Prize at the Phoenix Symphony Youth Orchestra’s Concerto Competition and first place in competitions held by the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra, and Civic Orchestra of Tucson.

Ms. Thai also composes and has been involved with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra’s Young Composer’s Project for seven years. She was commissioned by the Vail Preservation Society to score a new historical documentary, Voices of Vail, which premiered in 2018.

Ms. Thai began her musical studies with the piano at age three, and she began learning the
harp at age five. In her spare time, she enjoys environmental science, mathematics, video games, and building her own computers.

Heather Cornelius is currently studying for her Master’s degree with Kathy Kienzle at the University of Minnesota. She received her Bachelor of Music from The Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, Ontario, where she studied with Judy Loman. She has won several prizes in the American Harp Society National Competition, as well as three first prizes in her division in various concerto competitions.

We are very grateful to our dedicated and distinguished adjudication panel, all of whom worked long into the night to deliver thoughtful and careful judging results for each competitor: Dr. Jeffrey Parsons (Corvallis, OR), Robert Sutter (Chicago, IL), and Prof. Marguerite Lynn Williams (Chicago, IL).

In the next few days the Competition Committee will be contacting each of the winners to confirm mailing addresses for the awards. The American Harp Society Foundation Board of Directors will be working with the American Harp Society Board to try and determine where or if a Winners’ Recital can be organized eventually.

Three scholarship awards of $2,000 each are given to the winners, thanks to the generous support from the Anne and Dr. Burton Adams, Sally Maxwell/Doris Calkins, and the Doris E. Nebergall Funds. Lyon & Healy, an integral sponsor of this competition since its inception, provides a gift certificate to each of the three winners and honors them on a permanent plaque displayed in the Lyon & Healy showroom.

With gratitude to all who helped make this competition possible,

American Harp Society Foundation Board of Directors and Competition Committee,
Frances Duffy, AHSF Competitions Director
Carrie Kourkoumelis, President
Kathleen Bride, Vice President
Holly Avesian, Secretary
Penny Howk Beavers, Treasurer and Donor Relations
Frances Duffy
Kristina Finch
Jaymee Haefner
Elizabeth Huntley
Paula Page
Karen Lindquist Speyer, AHS Liaison

American Harp Foundation