Grace Cross is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Musical Arts in harp performance under Kathy Kienzle at the University of Minnesota, exploring psychology’s function in pedagogy and contemporary arts’ role in community engagement programs. Utilizing knowledge from studies at SPLICE Institute and the Fresh Inc. Festival, she collaborates with current composers, offering private and group harp composition seminars in-person locally and throughout the country by video-conferencing.
Before relocating to Minneapolis, Ms. Cross studied with Yolanda Kondonassis at the Cleveland Institute of Music, where she received her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in harp performance. She was principal harpist of the Tuscarawas Philharmonic for three seasons and was avidly involved in the greater Cleveland arts scene, where she performed in venues such as The Cleveland Orchestra’s Severance Hall and the historic Playhouse Square, acting as the guest principal for numerous ensembles and touring orchestras, like that of the production of The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses. These ensembles included the Akron Symphony Orchestra, BlueWater Chamber Orchestra, and Blue Streak Ensemble, the latter of which she participated in the premiere and recording of Margaret Brouwer’s Voice of the Lake, a commission that provided funding and awareness for the conservation of Lake Erie.
Equally passionate about teaching, Ms. Cross focused the studies of her Masters toward the exploration of psychology within musical pedagogy. The culmination of these pursuits led to an interdepartmental study that analyzes and compares the educational philosophies of prominent CIM faculty and Cleveland Orchestra members with how the mind processes, stores, and retrieves memory. This project functions as the first of Ms. Cross’ tangible pursuits in the area of Music Cognition, which will continue as her research at the University of Minnesota.
Prior to her collegiate studies, she graduated with honors from the Interlochen Arts Academy, as a student of Joan Holland. Ms. Cross hails from the San Francisco Bay Area, where her passion for the instrument began as a four year debate with her dad about whether to pursue harp lessons; she prevailed shortly before her ninth birthday.