Andrew T. Chan
Applauded by the National Post as “a rare charisma”, Canadian harpist Andrew Chan has performed across Canada, USA, and in China as a solo, orchestral and chamber musician. For 10 years, he performed as Principal Harp with the Toronto Concert Orchestra under the direction of the late Kerry Stratton who featured him repeatedly as soloist performing concertos by Debussy, Handel, and Ravel. He performed the Mozart Flute and Harp Concerto in 2017 during the orchestra’s Ontario tour.
Chan performs also as Principal Harp with the Brantford Symphony Orchestra since 2008. His solo appearances with them include the Harp Concerto by Vancouver’s Juno-Award winning composer Michael Conway Baker in 2018. Chan has been selected to present the same work in Vancouver in 2021 as part of the celebration concert for the composer’s 85th Birthday.
Enthusiastic to expand the harp’s concert music repertoire, Chan works with composers closely, premiering and advocating new Canadian works. He was invited to present Canadian music in Hong Kong, premiering “Three Dances for Ocyrrhoe” by Constantine Caravassilis. Other works written for Chan by Caravassilis include Illuminatum for Two Harps & Men’s Choir, and Hiraeth — a four movement Concerto for Harp & Orchestra.
Triptych, a collection of Chan’s original compositions, has been published and sold worldwide by Lyon & Healy Publications.
As a collaboration with the Town of Richmond Hill, Chan founded the Harps on the Hill Festival to advocate the appreciation of the harp both in its performance and teaching. He is the Artistic Director and principal teacher at the Harps on the Hill Centre in Markham ON where he established the Harp Sinfonia to provide ensemble training for harp students. Since 2000, his enthusiastic pedagogy has inspired many of his students to become winners of various awards, scholarships and auditions.
His students have been awarded Gold medals by the Royal Conservatory of Music Examination for every Level. His students have been consistent audition winners for Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra, Toronto Youth Wind Orchestra, Hamilton Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, Oakville Symphony Youth Orchestra, and others. With Chan’s guidance, his students have had been selected to perform as concerto soloists, while others have become Certified Music Practitioner to provide therapeutic music for the bedside, hospices and hospitals. Many others have had been hired to perform for various settings including concerts, weddings, receptions and special events. Chan’s visiting students have come from around Canada, Australia, China, England, France, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Spain and USA.
Striving to strengthen the local community through music, he organizes harp workshops in different communities and schools, introducing the harp to the public of all ages and from all walks of life. To enhance and broaden harp students’ horizons, he has organized harp maintenance workshops and holding monthly Performance Class, giving students insight into all aspects of harp performance.
During his school years, he was a recipient of scholarship from the Canada Arts Council. He is grateful for his training with the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, Symphony Orchestra Academy of the Pacific and the National Academy Orchestra of Canada. He credits his inspiration from his teachers. They include his early studies with the legendary Alice Chalifoux at the prestigious Salzedo School (Maine, USA), refinement with world-renowned harpist Catherine Michel in Paris, France, and with Elizabeth Volpѐ Bligh at the University of British Columbia School of Music. He received his Artist Diploma from the University of Toronto.
Chan performs on the Signature Harp, an one-of-a-kind model made by Salvi of 23-karat gold and precious Ziricote wood; it was the last masterpiece left behind by the late renowned harp maker Victor Salvi of Italy. Chan currently resides in Toronto.