Suzy Willison-Kawalec has enjoyed a wide and varied career since graduating from the Royal Academy of Music, London under Professor Skaila Kanga in 1999 with first class honours. An Associate of the Royal Academy of Music, she was appointed professor of harp there in 2018.
Suzy has been principal harpist with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra since 2015 and has a busy concert and recording schedule with them. As a guest principal she has worked with the BBC Symphony, Philharmonia, London Philharmonic, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Royal Northern Sinfonia and London Chamber orchestras and has performed in major concert halls around the world.
Suzy’s recording of William Alwyn’s Lyra Angelica for Naxos prompted rave reviews, with Gramophone describing her performance as ‘immaculate’. She has recorded with soloists including Renée Fleming, Joshua Bell, Bryn Terfel, Janine Jansen and Nigel Kennedy among many others.
Concerto appearances, solo and chamber music recitals have taken her to France, Germany, Italy and the Middle East, with recent solo performances including the Mozart Flute and Harp Concerto and Debussy’s Danse sacrée et danse profane at St John’s Smith Square with the RPO, LCO and also as part of the CBSO’s Debussy Festival.
From 1997 to 2000 she was principal harpist with the European Union Youth Orchestra and a finalist in the Royal Over-Seas League Music Competition, winning the Outstanding Chamber Music Harpist Award.
Alongside her orchestral schedule, Suzy is passionate about teaching, chamber music and contemporary works for her instrument. A regular visitor to the Presteigne Festival, she has premiered works by composers including Cecilia McDowall, Richard Dubugnon, Stephen McNeff and Thomas Hyde and is delighted to have recorded Joe Duddell’s Mnemonic with Katherine Baker – Katherine and Suzy formed their Alwyn Duo whilst students together.