Ellen Versney biography


Ellen Versney, solo harpist of the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, received her musical training at the Rotterdam College of Music with professor Teresia Rieu where she obtained her Master's Degree with highest honors and Distinction. She also studied privately with professor Vera Badings (former solo harpist of the Concertgebouw Orchestra) and with Thelma Owen (solo harpist Royal Philharmonic Orchestra) in London. She took masterclasses with Susann McDonald (USA), Tatyana Tauer (Russia) and Edward Witsenburg (The Netherlands).

Even before completing her studies, Ellen Versney was appointed principal harpist of the Brabant Symphony Orchestra. During the seasons 1996-1998 she had the opportunity to fullfill the same position as a substitute with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, touring around the world and recording several CD's. She has worked with conductors such as Sawallish, Rattle, Haitink, Gergiev and chiefconductor Chailly who recommended her as "a remarkably gifted harp player with outstanding musical sensitivity, intuition and secure technical abilities". In 2001 she won the position of solo harpist with the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, one of the major top orchestra's in The Netherlands.

She was awarded the Erasmus Conservatory Prize and the Doelen Recital Prize before winning the first Dutch National Harp Contest in 1994, where she was also given the 'Silver Music Stand' for best performance of the set contemporary piece. Three years later, she herself was a member of the international jury for this competition.

Ellen Versney has appeared regularly as a soloist with the Brabant Symphony Orchestra (BSO), the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra (RFO) and other dutch orchestras in all the major harp concertos as well as contemporary works. She also played the Ravel "Introduction & Allegro" and the Riess sextet with members of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. Most of these concerts have been broadcast on national radio. Her live CD recording of the Badings Harp Concerto with the BSO was described by the press as "fabulous" and "top class". In 2004 she performed Caplet's 'Conte Fantastique' with the RFO in the Amsterdam Concertgebouw for the official farewell concert of Edo de Waart as chief conductor.

Ellen has repeatedly appeared as a soloist at the World Harp Congress and the European Harp Symposium en gave recitals throughout Europe and in the States.

As a chamber musician she plays in various ensembles and records for radio and CD. With flutist Antonio Cabedo she performs in duo Manrique and she is harpist of the Doelen Ensemble Rotterdam who specialize in 20th century and contemporary repertoire.

Ellen coaches young harpists privately and from timt to time teaches as a guest professor at the Conservatory of Maastricht.