Friday, September 9, 2011

9/11: Kirsten Agresta Copely

I was numb when the Twin Towers fell on September 11, 2001. I felt powerless and deeply shaken. In the days that followed, our Mayor implored us to "get back to normal". But how could we in the face of such tragedy? In fact my experience in Midtown, where I live, was unsettling in its normalcy. My daily schedule resumed, performing and teaching. Life was eerily routine, while mere miles away rescue workers were covered in thick ash and tirelessly working against the clock to find any sign of life. The daily e-mails that I received from a colleague who lost her fiance kept me in the reality of all the loss and sorrow. Ladder 132, Engine 4 was one of the first firefighting teams to leap into Tower 1. She is now featured in the documentary REBIRTH, following the transformative lives of five people whose trauma and grief on 9/11 evolved into hope, showing how the human spirit can transcend the unthinkable over time.
On this 10th anniversary, I will be reflecting and performing at a Memorial Concert with the New York Pops in Central Park, honoring the family, friends, and survivors of Cantor-Fitzgerald.

Kirsten Agresta Copely
KIRSTEN AGRESTA COPELY has charmed audiences internationally since she began study of the harp at the age of five. By the time she was fourteen, she was soloist on a full tour of the British Isles and has since performed extensively as a solo artist throughout the United States, Europe, South America, Israel, Japan, and the South Pacific. Known for her passionate performances and versatility, Kirsten commands a wide range of genres from classical to hip hop. She has been awarded top national and international prizes and honors, including the Bronze Medal in the prestigious 1989 USA International Harp Competition. Kirsten debuted as concerto soloist at Lincoln Center (Avery Fisher Hall) and Carnegie Hall, where she has also performed numerous solo recitals.
Following a feature in People Magazine, she was presented on segments of NBC, CBS, and ABC-TV and later made appearances on MTV, Saturday Night Live, Late Night with David Letterman, The Early Show, and the Today Show. In Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall, Rockefeller Center, and the outdoor concert venues of Live8 and Lollapalooza, Kirsten has played alongside and worked with artists such as: Enya, Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Kanye West, Adam Levine of Maroon 5, John Legend, The Roots, and Amy Lee of Evanescence. She is featured on Erykah Badu's most recent album, New Amerykah Part Two: Return of the Ankh and can be heard on numerous movie soundtracks, including "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian."
Kirsten has also privately performed for notable officials and dignitaries, such as: Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, Her Majesty Queen Silvia of Sweden, Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of Jordan, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, and former Vice President Al Gore. In 2010, Kirsten had the honor of performing with Beyoncé for President & Mrs. Obama at the second official White House State Dinner, honoring Mexican President Felipe Calderón.
Copely studied with Nancy Allen at The Juilliard School and Distinguished Professor Susann McDonald at Indiana University. She received her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from Indiana University, where she also served as Associate Instructor of the Harp Department from 1991-93. She is currently a member of the Music Faculty at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, NY, and maintains a private teaching studio in New York City. Kirsten is Web Manager for the World Harp Congress Review, former New York Regional Director of the American Harp Society, a Voting Member of the Grammy Recording Academy (NARAS), and a member of ASCAP.

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