Courtney Hershey Bress joined the Colorado Symphony Orchestra as Principal Harp in 2001. She has appeared with the orchestra as a soloist on numerous occasions. Before coming to Colorado, Ms. Bress enjoyed a wide and varied freelance career, including engagements with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. She was also the Principal Harpist of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. She has served as Acting Principal of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and was Principal Harp with the United States Army Field Band in Washington, D.C. where she toured the 48 continental states, playing concertos and concerts. Ms. Bress has been playing with the Grand Teton Music Festival since 2007 and the Strings Music Festival, Steamboat Springs, CO since 2011. She held the Principal Harp position with the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in Santa Cruz, California for many years. She has performed as a guest artist with Colorado College Summer Music Festival. She has also performed for the American Harp Society and the World Harp Congress.
Ms. Bress is much sought-after as a teacher and has given masterclasses around the country. In addition to her private teaching studio, she is the Affiliate Professor of Harp at Metropolitan State University of Denver and has been a visiting professor at the Eastman School of Music. She has also served as a juror for the American Harp Society National Competition. She held the position of artist and clinician for the Midwest Harp Festival in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Ms. Bress was a 2005 GRAMMY® nominee for her performance of George Crumb’s chamber work Ancient Voices of Children. She is a member of Duo Classique, a duo harp chamber group, with her mentor Kathleen Bride. They perform recitals all over the country. Besides recordings with Naxos, Bridge, and Albany records, one can find Ms. Bress’ music in many albums with the U.S. Army Field Band. She earned a Bachelor of Music degree and the Performer’s Certificate from the Eastman School of Music and she received her Master of Music in Orchestral Studies from the Chicago College of Performing Arts, Roosevelt University. Ms. Bress is a native of Pittsburgh and studied for 11 years with Gretchen Van Hoesen before going to college and continuing her studies with Kathleen Bride and Sarah Bullen.