VanderCook College of Music
Faculty & Staff
Lisa Kahn is one of the most in-demand harpists in the United States, hailed for her artistry and musicianship. Known equally for both ensemble playing and solo performances, Lisa has worked with many notable orchestras like the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Louisville Symphony, Tulsa Symphony, Chicago Civic Orchestra, and Fort Wayne Philharmonic. In addition to her orchestral career, Lisa enjoys performing as a soloist and as a chamber musician. In 2021, Lisa was a featured soloist at the Ear Taxi Festival, where she performed Clarice Assad’s “Book of Spells” with new music ensemble Fulcrum Point.
Prior to moving to Chicago, she was the solo harpist for the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, Michigan, where she performed twice daily. Lisa has been a prize winner in several competitions and competed in the Lyon and Healy Awards International Competition. She earned a Bachelor of Music degree on scholarship from the Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music under the tutelage of Gillian Benet Sella, harpist for the Cincinnati Symphony. Lisa went on to earn a Masters of Music degree at the University of Illinois, known for it’s internationally recognized harp program. She then completed a Performance Diploma at the Chicago College of Performing Arts under the tutelage of Sarah Bullen, world-famous harpist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
Lisa has enjoyed a successful career performing all over the world and currently serves as Professor of Harp at Vandercook College of Music in addition to holding a large private studio of her own. She served as lead harpist for the storied Drake Hotel for more than 7 years, was elected and served as President of the Chicago Chapter of the American Harp Society, and is an internationally published author. Comfortable wearing many hats, Lisa thrives in leadership roles and strives to be a good example and sounding board for her students.
Regarding her teaching philosophy, Lisa says “I believe each student is different and I adapt my method to his, her, or their learning style and personal needs. Working on technique and repertoire should be about enjoyment, rather than perfection. Coming from a rigorous training background in classical music myself, I understand how perfectionism and imposter syndrome can affect one’s mental health. Music is my passion, and my wish is to help you to reach your highest level as a harpist and musician overall while keeping things positive and fun”.
- AM 111-412 Applied Harp