William Stapp - Violin/Viola
William Stapp received a Bachelor of Music (B.M. violin/viola performance) from the University of Alabama (1991) and a Master of Music (M.M. viola performance) from the University of Michigan (1993) where he attended on a full fellowship. Following this he received an A. S. (Stringed Instrument Technology/Violinmaking) from Indiana University (1996). He also attended the Brevard and Kneisel Hall Chamber Music School for several summers. His teachers include students of Ivan Galamian and William Primrose. His first violin teacher was Jean Pepper. Jean, a graduate student of John Kendall, was in that first group of ASTA string teachers from the United States who went to Japan to study the Suzuki Method.
Mr. Stapp was assistant principal viola of the Maryland Symphony, principal viola of the Two Rivers Chamber Orchestra, and a member of the National Philharmonic at Strathmore Hall. He is a member of ‘Duo Liutaio’, a harp-violin collaboration with his wife harpist Astrid Walschot-Stapp. They recently released a CD "Out of the Silence". Mr. Stapp has performed at the Kennedy Center, in South America and Europe, and as part of the ‘Strings ‘n Things’ and Shepherd String Trios. He has performed at the Hood College Summer Chamber Music series. Mr. Stapp has coached the strings of the Academy of St. Cecilia Youth Orchestras, the Maryland Classic Youth Orchestras, Frederick Regional Youth Orchestra, and the Shepherd Orchestras. He has been a judge for local solo and ensemble festivals. Mr. Stapp has served on the faculty of the Heritage Academy, the BlackRock Center for the Arts, Frederick Community College and Shepherd University. Mr. Stapp is a professional violinmaker.
Astrid Walschot-Stapp - Harp
Born in Maastricht, Holland Astrid Walschot-Stapp began studying the harp at age nine with Katja Noorman. She studied harp at the Maastricht Conservatory with Teresia Rieu where she received a Docerend Musicus (Harp Performance and Pedagogy, 1992) and an Uitvoerend Musicus (Artist Diploma, 1994). Astrid went on to study with Francois Bartholome at the Royal Conservatory in Brussels and with Marisa Robles at the Royal College of Music in London. Following her studies in London, she received the Prince Bernhard Fund Prize to study with Susan McDonald at Indiana University. Mrs. Walschot - Stapp received a Performer Diploma from Indiana University in 1996. Mrs. Stapp grew up with the French style of playing (H. Renie, Grandjany) but does not limit her insight to one method. Astrid has had an extensive orchestral career. In March 2003 Maestro Yuri Temirkanov selected her to be the acting principalharpist of the Baltimore Symphony during his tenure. This included several performances at Carnegie Hall. In addition, she has performed with the National Symphony, National Philharmonic, Washington Opera, Baltimore Opera, National Gallery Orchestra, Richmond Symphony, Harrisburg Symphony, Limburg Symphony, and Opera Royal de Wallonie. Astrid has worked with some of the world's most respected conductors, including Yuri Termirkanov, Mario Venzago, Leonard Slatkin, Kurt Masur, James Judd, Jean Pascal Tortelier, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Jeffrey Tate, Marin Alsop, Jack Everly, and Erich Kunzel. She has performed in concert with leading musicians such as, Yo-Yo Ma, Placido Domingo, Luciano Pavarotti, Jose Carreras, Kiri Te Kanawa, Joshua Bell, Julia Fisher, Lang Lang, Denyce Graves, Andre Rieu, Stevie Wonder, Randy Newman and Barry Manilow.
As a soloist, Astrid has performed in recital at such venues as the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, National Gallery of Art, Kennedy Center Terrace Theater, and the Dutch and Finnish Embassys in Washington D. C. Mrs. Walschot-Stapp has performed chamber music in numerous recitals in Europe and North America with such groups as the Orlando String Quartet, Kennedy Center Theater Chamber Players, The Left Bank Concert Society, the Fessenden Ensemble and Skya. She recently released a CD "Out of the Silence" with original compositions that she composed herself. She also played the composition "Eliana" for the soundtrack of the new 2014 movie "The Harpist". Astrid has been active in popularizing pieces by contemporary composers. The pieces “Astre”, “Sagitaure”, and the harp concerto "Tanghetto" were written for her by Jean Sevriens. Several pieces were written for her daughter Eliana. These include "Lullaby for Eliana" and "Adagietto" by J. Sevriens, "Lullabies for Eliana" by Artem Nyzhnyk, and "Eliana" by Meg Robinson.
Astrid delights in her student’s accomplishments. They have been members of the Maryland Classic Youth Orchestra, Greater Baltimore Youth Orchestra, and The American Youth Harp Ensemble. They have performed at the White House, The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and Strathmore Hall. Some of her students have gone on to pursue careers in music at schools and Festivals such as Tanglewood, Indiana University, The Eastman School of Music, Boston University, Duke, and the Sunderman Conservatory at Gettysbury College. Astrid co-founded the MCYO harp ensemble with Olivia Gutoff at Strathmore Hall and directed it from 2001-2009. Astrid has also worked with students who have dyslexia and learning disabilities. She has held teaching positions at the Baltimore School of the Arts, The Washington Conservatory of Music, and the Sunderman Conservatory of Music. Astrid currently conducts the Frederick Harp Ensemble.