She builds new worlds from sound and stories and is revolutionizing the way the world sees this ancient instrument with her cross-genre jazz-pop-comedy-folk-Flamenco-Celtic music.
Harpist, singer, songwriter, composer, author, cartoonist, entertainer, comedian – mix those together and you can just begin to describe Deborah Henson-Conant. Using her voice, her custom-built harp, her creativity and her love of symphonic music, Deborah Henson-Conant sculpts sound like others sculpt clay. Her performances blur the line between concert and Musical Theater. “Music, for me, is a way to tell a story," she explains. "And no story, in my mind, is complete without its music.”
Whether she’s filming a DVD with the Grand Rapids Symphony, tearing up the stage at the Edinburgh Fringe festival, touring with the Boston Pops, opening for Ray Charles at Tanglewood, or mesmerizing a theater-full of children at the Kennedy Center, Henson-Conant, live on stage, is indescribable. In her solo shows, she creates a world of sound, story and imagery out of solo harp and voice. In her orchestra shows she brings her background of improvisation and theater together with a love of lush, colorful orchestrations; orchestrations that feature symphony soloists from piccolo to timpani and music-scapes that paint an achingly romantic moonlit waltz one moment – and the laboratory of a mad scientist the next.
Henson-Conant rocked onto the jazz charts in the late 80’s. Since then she’s established her own record label and released a dozen other albums from Latin Jazz to Celtic, Blues, Folk-Pop and Spoken Word. She’s jammed, on-stage and off, with the likes of Steven Tyler, Bobby McFerrin, Rufus Reid, Keith Lockhart, Doc Severinsen and Marvin Hamlisch. She’s premiered her compositions with countless symphonies, lectured at the Paris Conservatory, and received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and “Meet the Composer.” She’s been featured on NBC, CBS, and CNN, and starred in the PBS Special “Celtic Harpestry.” Henson-Conant has revolutionized her instrument. She’s brought vibrant passion and individuality to its sound - and in the process she herself has been transformed. Her work is an exploration of possibilities – a transformation that moves her audience out of the ordinary and into the extraordinary.