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Neill, Lou Anne

Author, harpist, lecturer, and teacher who graduated from the University of California-Los Angeles with a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Masters degree in Musicology and became part of the faculty at her alma mater, as well as the California Institute of the Arts and the University of California-Santa Barbara.  She also offers private instruction and teaches an online music-theory class.

In September 1975, she began a long-standing collaboration with Frank Zappa as a member of the AbnucealsEmuukha Electric Symphony Orchestra at a pair of concerts at UCLA, and went on to record on a number of his albums, including Zappa in New York.

Other artists with whom she has recorded include Harry Connick, Jr., David Foster, and Frank Sinatra.  On 8thOctober 1976, she appeared as part of the Lyric Trio in a concert with the South Bay Chamber Music Society, interpreting the works of P.H. Earlbach, Franz Joseph Haydn, Jacques Ibert, Vincent Persichetti, OttorioRespighi, and Heitor Villa-Lobos.  The trio comprised Neill, cellist Selene Hurford, and flautist Susan Greenberg.  She also worked with the American Harp Society in a workshop at Mills College in Oakland, California in 1979, in tandem with Susan Allen and Alyssa Hess, and performed a series of “Irish Country Songs”, arranged by Herbert Hughes, with soprano Judith Pearce, in 1986.  Neill transcribed all of the harp accompaniments.

In 1983, she became a member of the L.A. Philharmonic.

Her forays into classical music recording include 2002’s Bassoon Power, as the token harpist on Paul Chihara’s”The Beauty of the Rose and its Passing”.  She also appears on Michael Hoppe’s 1988 release, Quiet Storms.

In the mid-’80s, she co-authored Writing for the Pedal Harp, published by University of California Press in 1985.  She also serves on the Music Advisory Board of the Young Musicians Foundation and is the Project Director of the foundation’s “Harp in our Public Schools” project.

In 1999, she played harp for a UCLA production of Once Upon a Mattress, directed by Carol Burnett.  She has even worked in film, co-producing To Her Glory:  A Tribute to Mother Earth, which has been shown around the world, and features music composed by George Frideric Handel.

On 4th November 2003, Neill helped christen the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s new home, Walt Disney Concert Hall.  It was at UCLA’s Schoenberg Hall, however, that she and others, including clarinetist Gary Gray, honoured conductor and pianist Jon Robertson with “Cheers and Trios for Jon Robertson”, in 2004.  A couple of years later, she took part in a similar event honouring Dorrance Stanley, accompanying soprano Cristina Zavalloni in a round of Lucio Berio’s “Circles”.

In addition to all of her aforementioned activities, Neill has also been a member of Chamber Music Palisades and the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music faculty.

Lou Anne plays the harp here on Frank Zappa’s “Zoot Allures”…