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Anna Maria Mendieta, Harp
November 28, 2023
Anna Maria Mendieta, Harp

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Program Music is one of the most powerful tools in igniting the imagination. This program demonstrates the evolution of the harp blending the heavenly sounds of the classical and sacred with the rhythms of Spain and Argentina. As the music plays, use your imagination to bring forth stories and images to set the scene for this musical journey.

Greensleeves (Anonymous)

Jan Dussek: Sonatina

Giovani Battista Pescetti: Sonata in C minor

Claude Debussy: En Bateau

Gabriel Pierné: Impromptu-Caprice, Op. 9

Manuel de Falla: Danse from The Three-Cornered Hat

Joaquin Rodrigo: Concierto de Aranjuez (2nd Movement)

Raoul Laparra: Tientos from Rythmes Espagnols

Astor Piazzolla: Introduccíon al Ángel with opening cadenza by Pablo Ziegler

Isaac Albéniz: Asturias (Leyenda)

Anna Maria Mendieta, harpist, enjoys a busy career as a soloist, orchestral musician, and recording artist. She is the principal harpist with the Sacramento Philharmonic & Opera and has played with orchestras and chamber music groups across the country and beyond. Ms. Mendieta has performed for Pope Benedict XVI, President Clinton, President Gorbachev, and the King and Queen of Spain. She is internationally known as a pioneer in performing Argentine Tango music on the harp with recognition from the League of American Orchestras as “an exceptional and charismatic soloist.” Her creation of Tango Del Cielo is an international touring show and a multi-award-winning album including four Global Music Awards and reached #2 on the Classical Crossover Charts. Ms. Mendieta has appeared on television, motion pictures, NPR, and the Emmy Awards. She has shared programs with Federica von Stade, and performed with Andrea Bocelli, Josh Groban, Frank Sinatra Jr., and Barry Manilow who calls her his “favorite harpist”. When she is not pulling strings, Anna Maria is out on the dance floor as part of her show. Her albums are available at

About the Composers

Jan Ladislav Dussek (1760 – 1812), was a Czech composer and pianist. He was an important representative of Czech music abroad in the second half of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century. Some of his more forward-looking piano works have traits often associated with Romanticism. He often composed for the harp during its development of pedals and key changes and was a favorite composer of Queen Marie Antoinette, who played the harp.

Giovanni Battista Pescetti (1704 – 1766), born in Venice, was an organist, harpsichordist, and composer known primarily for his operas and keyboard sonatas. His music is considered a bridge between Alberti and Scarlatti. Some of his music is said to reflect the influence of Handel, after spending significant time in London. His most famous students were Josef Mysliveček and Antonio Salieri. The Sonata in C minor was transcribed for the harp by Carlos Salzedo during the 20th century.

Claude Debussy (1862 – 1918), was among the most influential composers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Born in France, Debussy is sometimes seen as the first Impressionist composer, although he vigorously rejected the term. It took many years to develop his mature style and was nearly 40 when he achieved international fame in 1902 with the only opera he completed, Pelléas et Mélisande. His compositions are so well suited for the harp that he was commissioned by the Pleyel harp building company to compose his famous Danses Sacrée et Profane in 1904.

Gabriel Pierné (1863-1937), composer, conductor, pianist, and organist, was born in Metz, France. He studied at the Paris Conservatoire gaining many first prizes and won the French Prix de Rome in 1882. His teachers included Émil Durand, Jules Massanet, César Franck. He was the organist of Saint-Clotilde Basilica in Paris and was the chief conductor of the popular Concerts Colonne. Pierné composed several operas, choral, and symphonic pieces as well as chamber music. He composed the Impromptu-Caprice for the harp in 1901.

Manuel de Falla (1876-1946) was born in Cádiz, lived in Madrid, and became interested in native Spanish music, particularly with Andalusian flamenco. Falla spent many years in Paris where he met a number of composers who greatly influenced his style, among them Maurice Ravel. During WWI, he moved back to Spain and later settled in Granada. At the end of the Spanish Civil War, he moved to Buenos Aires and remained in Argentina until his death. La Vida Bréve, a one-act opera, meaning “Life Is Short”, was composed in 1905 and became his first major work.

Joaquin Rodrigo (1901-1999) composed more than 180 works reflecting the atmosphere of Spain, but it was the “Concierto de Aranjuez” that made him an instant celebrity in 1939. Having its roots in Spanish folk forms, the piece was inspired by and written for the gardens at the Palacio Real de Aranjuez. Blinded at the age of 3, he set out to describe in music the impressions he could experience as well as visual impressions he could only imagine. The 2nd movement was inspired as an offering to heal a war-torn country from the devastation of the Spanish Revolution.

Raoul Laparra (1876-1943), a pupil of Fauré and Massenet at the Paris Conservatoire, served as music critic for Le Matin before turning more whole-heartedly to composition. By age 27, he was awarded the prestigious Prix de Rome. He contributed significantly to the study of Spanish music and published a book in 1934 analyzing the Spanish influences in Bizet’s Carmen. His music often reflects his interest in Spanish and Basque folk music as in his operas La Habañera and La Jota and in his contributions to zarzuelas (Spanish musical plays).

Astor Piazzolla (1921-1992), born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, studied with Alberto Ginastera and Nadia Boulanger. It was Boulanger who persuaded him to devote himself to the tango rather than any other music. With a respect for Bach and a love for jazz, he decided to free the tango from its traditional patterns, give the music more nuances, and make it more complex. For this, he made use of new tonal colors and rhythms as well as dissonant harmonies. It was Piazzolla’s dream to create a tango that would not only be dance music but concert music as well. Pablo Ziegler (b. 1944), Buenos Aires, Argentina, was Piazzolla’s pianist for ten years as a part of his “Nuevo Tango” Quintet group. He began playing the piano at a young age and was taught to play tangos by his father who would play them on the violin for the silent movies. An innovator in tango and with many albums to his credit, Pablo Ziegler was the recipient of the 2006 Grammy Award for the Best Tango Album and 2018 for the Best Jazz Album. His arrangement of Piazzolla’s “Introduccíon al Ángel” was originally created for Ms. Mendieta and her Tango Del Cielo ensemble.

Isaac Albeniz (1860-1909) was a Spanish-Catalan pianist and composer. His activities as a conductor, performer, and composer significantly raised the profile of Spanish music abroad and encouraged other musicians of his own country. Albeniz was a child prodigy, who began his concert career at age nine when his father toured both Isaac and his sister throughout northern Spain. It is rumored that by the age of 12, he stowed away on a ship bound for Buenos Aires. Yet indeed, it is verified that by the age of 15, he had already given concerts worldwide.