String and Harp Department
Research / Working Group
From a very young age, Isabelle Perrin has been passionate about the harp. She began her training at the Conservatoire National de Région de Nice (she gave her first public recital at the age of seventeen), then continued her studies at the Juillliard School of Music in New York before joining the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra and later on the Orchestre National de France as co-principal harpist.
An international soloist, Isabelle Perrin is regularly invited to play with prestigious ensembles such as the Northwest Sinfonietta (USA), the Orchestre Symphonique d’Oshawa-Durham (Canada), the Coastal Symphony of Georgia (USA), the National Symphony Orchestra (Ireland), the BBC Wales Orchestra (Wales), the Orchestre Symphonique de Bruxelles (Belgium), the Darwin Symphony Orchestra (Australia), the Polish Baltic Philharmonic Orchestra (Poland), the Korean Chamber Orchestra (South Korea), the Xiamen Symphony Orchestra (China), as well as numerous French orchestras, including the Orchestre national de France, the Orchestre national d’Ile-de-France, the Orchestre national de Lille, the Orchestre national du Capitole de Toulouse, the Orchestre national des Pays de la Loire, the Orchestre national de Lorraine…
Works and Recordings
Her warm personality, as well as the deep relationship she has created with her instrument, has incited several composers to create music with her in mind. Bernard Andrès has dedicated his Danses d’Erzulie for harp, string orchestra and percussion to her. This piece was world premiered in Cincinnati, in June of 2000 and the European Premiere was given in 2001 in Amsterdam. In 2008, Isabelle Perrin explored for the first time the “Blue Harp” (an electronic harp associated with a computer) in Katowice, Poland, with the Concertino “South Shore” for Blue Harp and Orchestra written especially for her by Elzbieta Sikora.
Isabelle has recorded a number of CDs, including one highlighting the works of Bernard Andrès, original works by Arnold Bax for flute, viola and harp, a world premiere recording on a single action harp of F.A. Boieldieu’s works, including the Sonata and the famous Concerto in C Major as well as one of Pierick Houdy’s pieces for harp and miscellaneous instruments, among them the “Concerto Français” which he dedicated to her. She has also recorded a Super Audio CD of favorite repertoire pieces, a recital of the most famous French impressionist works for harp and a second Bernard Andrès CD with Mexican harpist Baltazar Juarez as well as a CD of both Johann Sebastian and Carl Philip Emmanuel Bach.
In addition to her career as a soloist, Isabelle Perrin is deeply attached to the transmission of her knowledge. As the youngest recipient of the French Certificate of Aptitude in harp pedagogy (received at the age of seventeen), she has been harp professor at the Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris in nearly 15 years and is now Harp Professor at the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo (Norway) as well as Head of the Strings Department. Her fervor and enthusiasm have lead her to give master classes throughout Europe, Russia, the United States, Japan, South Korea, China, Singapore, Australia, Canada, Mexico etc. Isabelle Perrin is regularly invited as a guest professor by universally renowned institutions such as Indiana University (Bloomington, USA), the Moscow P.I. Tchaikovsky Conservatory, the Juilliard School (New York), the Curtis Institute of Music (Philadelphia) and the Royal Academy of Music (London) where she has been permanently named “Visiting Professor” as well as Honorary Associate.
This attachment to teaching as well as her desire to communicate with audiences has lead her to travel the world giving concerts in the hopes of bringing the harp to the general public. In August of 2004, Isabelle Perrin was the organizing president and artistic director of the 6th European Harp Symposium in Lyon, France. Her engagement in the worldwide harp community continues today; after being its vice-president Isabelle Perrin is now the new Artistic Director of the World Harp Congress, which organizes an international harp festival every three years in a different country., the last one held in July 2014 in Sydney (Autralia).
In recognition of her exemplary career and her musical commitment, Isabelle Perrin was decorated by the French Ministry of Culture and Communication, and admitted to the Knighthood of the Order of Arts and Letters.