Harpist Sidsel Walstad describes playing Ginastera’s harp concerto as “climbing a mountain.” Whether it feels like that for most harpists, Walstad has the best qualifications for tackling Ginastera’s demanding rhythms and complexity. As solo harpist in the Norwegian Radio Orchestra she is exposed to a wide variaty of genres, compositions and arrangements that take the harp far from classical music’s beaten path.
Sidsel also does this of her own accord, as, for example, when she collaborates on electric harp with percussionists, expanding her repertoire and the boundaries of what a harp is good for.
Just as Walstad is in frequent demand as a classical musician in concerts and at festivals in Norway and abroad, the list of artists she has worked with in pop, jazz and folk music, among others, is strikingly long — and she is likewise a groovy principal artist with her electric harp over her shoulder.
Walstad studied at the Norwegian Academy of Music, the University of Indiana, and at the Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen. She was Principal Harp with the Norwegian National Opera & Ballet Orchestra before she accepted the much sought-after soloist position with the Norwegian Radio Orchestra (KORK), with which she performs a broad stylistic palette. In her continuing encounters with new composers and arrangers, she shares invaluable knowledge of how a harp can be used and ought to sound.
In the harp concerto she comes face to face with her own personality, delighting in the contrasts and especially the rhythmic quality — the dance. And it doesn’t hurt to have danced ballet when playing a malambo …