Claire Happel Ashe
Adjunct Instructor of Music
Claire Happel Ashe is a versatile performer known for integrating diverse aspects of movement and music. As a harpist, she has appeared with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional of the Dominican Republic, and the Newberry Consort among many other ensembles. She regularly collaborates in chamber music concerts with bassist Philip Alejo (River Town Duo), oboist Karisa Werdon (Immer Neu), and guitarist James Moore and mandolin player Jeremy Harting (Noble Fowl Trio). An advocate of new music, she has performed with contemporary ensembles such as the Chicago Composers Orchestra, International Ensemble Modern Academy, Ostravská Banda, Berg Orchestra, and the Pulitzer Series of St. Louis, and commissioned new works with grants from the Urbana Public Arts Program, City of Chicago Cultural Affairs, American Harp Society, and the Illinois Arts Council. In the summers, she has performed at the Midwest Harp Festival, American Harp Society Conferences and Institutes in Chicago, Logan (UT), and Tacoma (WA), and presented at the World Harp Congress in Dublin and Alexander Technique Congress in Chicago. In addition to performances on the modern pedal harp, she has recently ventured into historical performance, working with Cheryl Ann Fulton, Charlotte Mattax Moersch, and Christa Patton at the Madison Early Music Festival and Queens College Early Opera Workshop. She holds degrees in harp performance from Yale University (June Han) and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Ann Yeung), where she also received a BFA in Dance. In 2007-08, she studied on Fulbright Scholarship in Prague with Jana Boušková. She has served on the faculty of the University of Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s College, Illinois Summer Youth Music, and Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, and as a teaching assistant at Yale University, the University of Illinois, and the Music in the Mountains Festival. She currently teaches harp, Alexander Technique, and movement at Valparaiso University, the Music Institute of Chicago, Olivet Nazarene University, and the James Hart Harp Program in the Homewood Public Schools. She is a graduate of the Alexander Technique Centre Urbana (Joan and Alex Murray), and her doctoral research (funded by a P.E.O Scholar Award) explored applications of the Alexander Technique and developmental movement patterns to harp performance.