Susann McDonald promotes book in Asia, holds master classes and receives honorary professorship at China Conservatory

Enjoy a travelogue by Distinguished Professor Susann McDonald, as she documents a recent trip to China, Japan, and Republic of China (Taiwan).

Her activities included a book tour, multiple master classes, alumni gatherings, and participation in the announcement of Hong Kong as the location for the 2017 World Harp Congress. During the tour, McDonald received an honorary professorship at the China Conservatory in Beijing.


I spent most of June teaching master classes and lecturing in six cities in Asia. The impetus of the trip was to introduce the translations of a new harp method (co-authored with Linda Rollo, board member of the USA International Harp Competition and Vice-President of the World Harp Congress, who accompanied me.)

We began in Beijing, where we performed and taught in the beautiful new National Concert Hall. Jacobs School alumna, Liya Huang, who is the harpist with the National Symphony Orchestra of Beijing, translated our lectures. I also taught at the China Conservatory, where I received an honorary professorship.

I then went to Shanghai, a major new harp center, and taught lessons and master classes. The president of Lyon-Healy harps, Antonio Forero and his wife, Jacobs School alumna Luisa Rayan (past silver medalist at the USA International Harp Competition,) accompanied me there. Lyon-Healy also recently built a harp factory there.

The next stop was Seoul, Korea, where we were welcomed by Jung Kwak, another IU harp alumna, who had arranged for another set of lessons and master classes.

Next it was to Tokyo where my long-time former student and international concert and recording artist, Naoko Yoshino translated for us while we taught a public master class before to a large audience. Miss Yoshino and her mother had prepared the Japanese translation of the book as well. We signed autographs for 2 hours and sold all the methods! The president of the IU Japanese Alumni Association came and brought an IU banner and took pictures of the alums – all former students and harpists.

From Tokyo we flew to Taipei where a group of five IU harp alums had organized a welcome concert for us. They performed in ensemble and Dr. FanFen, an alum and now IU harp faculty member, performed as well. Other alumni at the gathering were Hsieh Shuen, harpist with the National Orchestra of Taiwan, and Meng-lu Chen, president of the Taiwanese Harp Society. We both taught masterclasses and lessons every day everywhere for six hours or more.

Our last stop was in HongKong. There, we were welcomed by DanYu, gold medallist of the USA International Harp Competition (IHC), who lives there now and has developed an excellent career of touring, teaching, performing. She will be on the jury of the USA IHC this next summer. A harp store there, called Harp Chamber, provide practice harps and teachers to over 100 young harpists. There are programs in many secondary schools, with a large numbers of harpists.

Everywhere we went there were posters of us, and of course autograph signing. Truly, we were treated like harpist “rock stars!”  I played on television with DanYu and two of her students, and media coverage was enormous, always with banks of cameras. While there, I was invited to announce there the choice of HongKong as the location for the 2017 World Harp Congress for the 2017.  It was quite an occasion, with banners, ribbon cutting, and a gathering of many of the music professors in Hong Kong. On the final night, a banquet was given in our honor at the Grand Hyatt, the ancient Chinese harp, Konghou, was featured with beautiful performances, and I was officially made Honorary Chairman of the International Konghou Society.

Enjoy additional photos from the trip:

From left to right: Linda Wood Rollo, Mai Fukui, Midori Kataoke, Mieko Inoue, Aya Matsumoto, Seated: Naoko Yoshino, Kanako Yagi

With IU Alumni in Tokyo!

Taiwanese professional harpists and IU alums at formal dinner hosted by Hsin-yi's parents in their home high above Taipei: at left below portrait, Meng-lu Chen, Dr. FanFanTai, Hsieh Shuen, Mrs. Rollo, SmcDonald, Mrs. and Mr. Chen, daughter, Hsin-yi Chen, and husband and cousin








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