There are many different types of artists living in Ridgewood nowadays, from painters and sculptors, to filmmakers and musicians, but one resident has been playing and teaching a not-so-common instrument: the harp.
Marilu Donovan is a harpist who gives musical lessons on the harp, as well as the piano, from her Ridgewood apartment as a way to join her love of playing the harp and her love of teaching.
Donovan grew up in Houston, TX, where she attended a large artistic high school. After high school, she went to college in Toronto, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in music in harp. In 2009, she moved to Bushwick, where she was studying privately with the harpist for the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.
“It was crazy. It was awesome,” she said of training at the Metropolitan Opera. “It was such a great experience to have lessons backstage at the Met. Who does that? It was really special. I am really grateful for that.”
She then earned her master’s degree in music in Los Angeles, California.
She moved to Ridgewood in 2015, and is currently living in the former Ridgewood Times home office on Woodbine Street, off of Fresh Pond Road.
“It’s amazing. It’s my favorite home I’ve had in New York,” Donovan said of her apartment. “It’s a beautiful space, and it’s very quiet for my harp studio. So it’s perfect for the recording sessions I’ve done here. I teach students here and I have a lot of rehearsals here.”
Donovan says she fell into playing the harp 20 years ago when she attended a small private school in Texas. In the fourth grade, she had to pick an instrument to learn. She found out that most of her friends were taking a harp class and decided to join that class. She has been playing the harp ever since.
In addition to playing in her apartment and teaching students, Donovan likes to play the harp in a newly formed quartet.
Donovan’s latest performance was one she put together at the Chamber Music Concert at The Park Church Group Co-op in Greenpoint. And although she has played at some of the neighborhood’s newer venues like the Footlight and The Windjammer, she is hoping to find some spaces in Ridgewood to put on larger performances.
To learn more about Donovan and her music lessons, visit her website at mariludonovan.com.