Our harp studio takes full advantage of Lamont's many performance opportunities, participating in symphony orchestra and opera, as well as chamber, world and contemporary groups. They graduate Lamont prepared for whatever opportunities may come their way, including professional symphony orchestra positions, teaching, and freelance performance.

Courtney Hershey Bress joined the Colorado Symphony 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 played with the Grand Teton Music Festival and the Strings Music Festival, Steamboat Springs, CO. She held the Principal Harp position with the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in Santa Cruz, CA from 2002-2007. She has also performed as a guest artist with Colorado College Summer Music Festival. She was selected and has performed for the American Harp Society and the World Harp Congress.

Ms. Bress is much sought-after as a teacher and has given master classes around the country. In addition to her private teaching studio, she is the Adjunct Professor of Harp at the Lamont School of Music, University of Denver and the Lecturer of Harp at the University of Wyoming. She is also the Harp Instructor for the Lamont Summer Academy at DU. She was the Assistant Professor of Harp at Colorado State University from 2016-2021. She was also a visiting Professor of Harp at the Eastman School of Music from 2009-2010. Her students have won National and International harp competitions. She has served as a juror for the American Harp Society National Competitions, including the Grandjany Memorial Competition, and held the position of artist and clinician for the Midwest Harp Festival in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

In 2017 Ms. Bress became a published author. For Love of the Harp was published by Veritas Musica Publishing. The book is in two parts with the first being advice to the young musician and stories about her career. The second part discusses and shows examples of how to write for the harp. 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. She is also a member of two other chamber groups, Internationally renowned Trio Arcadia, flute, horn and harp and Duo Five One, cello and harp. Besides recordings with Naxos, Bridge, and Albany records, one can find her music on many albums with the Colorado Symphony and the U.S. Army Field Band. Her duo album with violinist, Andrés Cárdenes, will be released in the near future. Ms. Bress 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.

Get in touch with Professor Hershey Bress at Courtney.Hershey.Bress@du.edu


Applicants may choose to either audition in person in Denver OR submit a recorded video audition and complete a Zoom interview. 

Click here for the full steps for how to apply. Applications received after January 15, 2022 will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Live Audition

Applicants will preference their top two (2) audition dates for a live audition on the Lamont application. The 2022 audition dates are January 29, February 5, and February 12. All auditions are approximately 20 minutes in length. The applicant will choose one of their prepared works to perform. The faculty will choose the second of the prepared works and possibly an additional work as well.

Given the fluid nature of in-person events at this time, we recommend that you have a video recording of your audition repertoire on hand, in the event that we need to cancel in-person auditions. 

Recorded Video Audition & Zoom Interview

Applicants unable to travel to Denver for a live audition may submit an unedited video audition via the Lamont application AND will complete a live Zoom interview.  Applicants will preference their top two (2) dates for the Zoom interview on the Lamont application, choosing from January 29, February 5, and February 12.

The 20-minute interview will consist of a Q&A only. You will not be asked to perform.

Audition Repertoire Requirements

Undergraduate (BM and BA)

  • Two standard works of contrasting style demonstrating highest technical and artistic abilities (Grandjany's Variations on a Theme of Haydn, Glinka's Nocturne, Natra's Sonatina, etc.). Memorization required.
  • Orchestral excepts:
    • Tchaikovsky, Waltz of the Flowers (cadenza)
    • One of the following:
      • Franck, Symphony in D Minor (complete)
      • Verdi, La Forza del Destino (overture)

Undergraduate (Minor)

  • Two contrasting pieces
  • One orchestral cadenza or excerpt of your choice

Graduate (MM)

  • Three works of contrasting style demonstrating highest technical and artistic abilities (a Bach transcription, unaccompanied movement of a standard concerto, Houdy's Sonata, Salzedo's Scintilation, Grandjany's Rhapsodie, etc.). Memorization required.
  • Orchestral excerpts:
    • Berlioz, Symphonie Fantastique (complete)
    • One of the following:
      • Ravel, Tzigane (cadenza)
      • Donizetti, Lucia di Lammermoor (harp solo)
      • Tchaikovsky, Swan Lake (cadenza)

Graduate (Certificate in Performance)

  • Two contrasting pieces or movements, memorized
  • Two orchestral cadenzas or excerpts of your choice

Review requirements for Artist Diploma
Review requirements for Certificate in Orchestral Studies

Key Faculty & Students


Courtney Bress

AHSS - Faculty Adjunct

Learn More


  • Courtney Hersey Bress

    Courtney Hershey Bress.

  • Harp student
  • Harps in orchestra
university buildings at night

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