Biography

The most intelligent, sensitive and technically accomplished harpist I have ever met.–Luciano Berio

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Alice Giles AM has been celebrated as one of the world’s leading harp soloists. The Australian-born musician first attracted international notice when she won First Prize in the 8th Israel International Harp Contest at the age of 21. Since then she has performed extensively both in recital and with orchestras in Europe, America, Australia, and Israel. She presented her first solo recital at the age of 13 at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, was awarded the coveted Churchill International Fellowship and an Australia Council Grant to study in the USA and made her New York debut recital at Merkin Hall in 1983.

Regarded by Luciano Berio as the foremost interpreter of his Sequenza II, she has taken part in tributes to Berio at the Queen Elizabeth Hall London, Salzburg Mozarteum, and at the 92nd Street Y in New York to honour his 70th birthday. She has given many premiere performances for her instrument, has commissioned a complete program of new works for the electro-acoustic harp, and is Artistic Director of the Seven Harp Ensemble (SHE), which has commissioned many new works by Australian composers.

She has been a guest artist at numerous festivals, including the Bath Mozartfest, Scotia Festival, Schleswig-Holstein, Insel Hombroich and ‘Ja, Musik!’ Festivals in Germany, Salzedo Centennial in Austin, Texas, World Harp Congresses in Copenhagen and Vancouver, World Harp Festival in Cardiff, the Edinburgh Harp Festival Australian Festival of Chamber Music, Barossa and Coriole Festivals, Huntington Festival, Adelaide and Sydney Festivals, and was invited by Rudolf Serkin to participate for three summers in the Marlboro Music Festival in Vermont, USA.

Concert highlights include solo recitals in London’s Wigmore Hall, New York’s 92nd Street Y and Merkin Hall, Frankfurt Alte Oper, Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Washington DC and Toronto, and concertos with the Israel Philharmonic, Collegium Musicum Zürich, Badische Staatskapelle Karlsruhe, the English Symphony Orchestra, Danish Radio Concert Orchestra, Mainzer Kammerorchester and Hamburg Mozart Orchestra, Ohio Chmaber Orchestra, Taiwan Symphony, Israel Chamber Orchestra and regularly with all the major Australian Symphony and Chamber Orchestras. Alice Giles has worked with conductors David Porcelijn, Muhai Tang, Michael Christie, Marcus Stenz, Mark Elder, Jahja Ling, Tuomas Ollila, Sebastian Lang-Lessing, Ola Rudner, Roderick Brydon, Günter Neuhold, Hiroyuki Iwaki, Henry Krips, Ronald Zollman, Werner Andreas Albert among others. Alice Giles performs regularly with all the major Australian Symphony and Chamber orchestras.

Chamber music ensemble partners include the Duo Corda with her husband Arnan Wiesel on piano, the Australia Ensemble, the Melos Quartet, Thomas Zehetmair, Jenny Abel, Andrea Lieberknecht, Geoffrey Collins, David Pereira and many others.

Alice Giles has an international reputation as a teacher, having given master classes in the Salzburg Mozarteum, the Conservatorium in The Hague, Royal Academy London, Cleveland Institute, the Juilliard School, Curtis Institute, Conservatorio G. Verdi Milano, Parma Conservatorio, Glenn Gould School Toronto, Detmold Hochschule, R. Schumann Hochschule and at the International Youth Festival in Bayreuth. From 1990 to 1998 she taught at the Hochschüle für Musik in Frankfurt, and was Associate Professor and Head of Harp Area at the ANU School of Music, Australia until 2012. She now teaches at the Sydney Conservatorioum of Music and the Australian National Academy of Music in Melbourne.

Her annual summer course is now held in Kioloa NSW. She was on the jury for the 1998 and 2009 International Harp Contest in Israel, the 2004 USA International Harp Competition 2007, V. Salvi European Harp Competition Cardiff and the IX Concourso Nationale d’Arpa ‘Victor Salvi’.  Her two main teachers were June Loney (Sydney Symphony Orchestra) and Alice Chalifoux (Cleveland Orchestra), also studying with Lydia Shaxson and Judith Liber. She is founder and director of the Harp Centre Australia, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting the harp in Australia.

Her discography includes three solo harp discs, a concerto disc with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, conductor David Porcelijn, and many chamber music discs – among others as Duo Corda, with the Budapest Brass Quintet, with flutist Geoffrey Collins, the Marlboro Recording Society, and the Kunstpfeifer Martin Werner – for the KOCH, Musikado, ABC Classics,Tall Poppies, ArtWorks, CDI (Israel) and TMK labels.

She was awarded an AM (Member of the Order of Australia) in the 2017 Queen’s Birthday Honours for “significant service to the performing arts as a harpist, mentor and educator, and through contributions to Australia’s musical landscape.”

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