Suzy Willison-Kawalec was born in 1976 and has been enjoying a varied and exciting career since graduating from the Academy
She studied under Professor Skaila Kanga and graduated with first class honours in 1999. Suzy has been honoured as an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music (ARAM).
In April 2005 Suzy was appointed Principal Harpist of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. During her time with the orchestra she has performed in a wide variety of concerts and has worked on recording projects with major record labels. As Guest Principal Harpist she also plays with the BBC Symphony, Philharmonia, London Philharmonic, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Northern Sinfonia and London Chamber Orchestras. Through her work with these leading ensembles she has performed at major concert halls around the world.
Suzy’s recording of Alwyn’s harp concerto Lyra Angelica for Naxos prompted rave reviews, with Gramophone describing the performance as “immaculate”. She has recorded with soloists including Renée Fleming, Joshua Bell, Bryn Terfel, Janine Jansen and Nigel Kennedy. Concerto appearances, solo and chamber music recitals have taken her to France, Germany, Italy and the Middle East. Recent engagements as a soloist include Mozart’s Flute and Harp Concerto and Debussy Danses Sacrée et Profane in a performance at St Johns Smith Square, the latter of which she also performed at the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra’s Debussy Festival.
From 1997 to 2000 Suzy was Principal Harpist with the European Union Youth Orchestra and was a finalist in The Royal Over-Seas League Music Competition, winning the Outstanding Chamber Music Harpist Award. During her time as a student at the Academy she won the Guy Magrath Prize for Harp. Prior to the Academy she studied for ten years with Professor Daphne Boden at the Junior Department of the Royal College of Music.
Alongside Suzy’s busy orchestral schedule, she is passionate about both teaching and new music for harp. She has given premieres by many composers including Cecilia McDowell, Richard Dubugnon, Stephen McNeff and Thomas Hyde. She recently recorded the flute and harp concerto Mnemonic by Joe Duddell with Katherine Baker, Principal Flute of at the Royal Opera House, for Presteigne Festival’s latest CD release. Susy and Katherine formed the Alwyn Duo whilst students at the Academy.