Originally from Chicago, harpist Stephanie Gustafson now resides in Houston, where she is an active performer, educator, and writer. An experienced orchestral musician, she has been Principal Harpist with the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra since August 2015 and is a regular guest of the Houston Symphony and Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra in New Orleans. She has also worked with the Austin Symphony, the Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra, and the El Paso Symphony and Opera. Prior to her move to Houston, Stephanie lived in Washington DC where she held the position of Principal Harpist with the Annapolis Symphony. Outside of the United States, she has performed with orchestras on stages all over Europe and South America. In 2013, she worked with Maestro Kurt Nagano and the National Orchestra of Sweden before spending the 2013-2014 season as Acting Principal Harpist of the Orquesta Filarmónica de Santiago, performing numerous symphonies, ballets, and operas at the historic Teatro Municipal de Chile and other venues throughout Santiago.
A passionate educator, Stephanie is a co-founder and co-director of the Houston Youth Harp Ensemble, a Saturday morning program that helps harp students in Houston further their musical growth and build an essential harp community. Additionally, Stephanie is on faculty at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, a summer program in Twin Lake, Michigan, where she teaches private lessons, coaches chamber groups, and conducts the harp ensemble. Since August 2016, Stephanie has also been a Young Artist with Da Camera of Houston, which has allowed her to teach in public, private, and charter schools all across Houston. Through Da Camera, she held a year-long musical residency with the students of The Monarch Institute, a school for kids with neurological disorders, and currently works with the TREK program at Travis Elementary. When in Baton Rouge, she makes visits at The Emerge Center, a school for kids with diagnosed behavioral and communication disorders, where she gives demonstrations and presents short musical programs for children ages 2 to 6. She also maintains an active private teaching studio for students of all ages in Houston.
Since moving to Houston three years ago, Stephanie has performed all throughout the city, at venues including Jones Hall for the Performing Arts, the Hobby Center, MATCH, Miller Outdoor Theatre, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, the Menil Collection, Rothko Chapel, the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, and St. John the Divine, among others. This past 2016 - 2017 season also saw her on stages with genre-bending pianist Ben Folds, 5-time Grammy award winning jazz vocalist Dianne Reeves, and classical guitarist Sharon Isbin. She is looking forward to upcoming recitals with flutist Rachel Ciraldo at the Ballroom of the Governor’s Mansion in Baton Rouge, LA in February 2018.
Stephanie received her Master of Music from Manhattan School of Music, where she was a student of the late Deborah Hoffman, Principal Harpist of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra for 28 years. She earned her Bachelor of Music from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign where she studied with the esteemed Dr. Ann Yeung. In her spare time, she writes for the Harp Column and is an avid reader.