The American Harp Society Foundation Board of Directors and Competition Committee are proud to announce the three winners of the 2020 Anne Adams Competition (alphabetical listing):

Kaitlin Miller, student of Prof. Jaymee Haefner, University of North Texas
Juan Riveros, student of Prof. Yolanda Kondonassis, The Cleveland Institute of Music
Claire Thai, student of Prof. Elizabeth Hainen, The Curtis Institute of Music

We also congratulate:

Heather Cornelius, Honorable Mention, student of Prof. Kathy Kienzle, University of Minnesota Twin Cities

All of the finalists deserve our hearty congratulations for exceptionally fine performances, along with wonderful cooperative spirit, and professional comportment. We also thank all of the teachers, family members, and others who supported our finalists during this pioneer venture of an online competition.

In spite of her deep love for coffee and nature, Kaitlin Miller finds few things more enjoyable than playing the harp. Born a Colorado native, Ms. Miller is a vibrant student and performer at the University of North Texas (UNT) who actively participates in various ensemble and chamber groups.  Kaitlin is passionate about new music and was fortunate to perform Paul Patterson’s harp duet Scorpions under his instruction.  Kaitlin is a member of the UNT HarpBeats and has played in masterclasses for Isabelle Perrin, Sasha Boldachev, and Emily Levin.  Ms. Miller has been a finalist at the American Harp Society National Competition, Young Artist’s Harp Seminar (YAHS), UNT Concerto Competition and won the 2019 American Harp Society in Dallas Scholarship Competition.  She is currently under the instruction of Dr. Jaymee Haefner and is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in harp performance and music theory.

Juan Riveros is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in Harp Performance and Music Theory at the Cleveland Institute of Music, studying under the tutelage of Yolanda Kondonassis. His past accolades include Interlochen’s Young Artist Award, the Texas Young Master Award, Grand Finalist in the 2018 Anne Adams Awards, Honorable Mention at the 2019 Lyon and Healy Awards, Third Place in the Young Professional Division of the 2019 American Harp Society National Competition, Competition Participant in the 2019 USA International Harp Competition, and a YoungArts Merit Award in Classical Music/Harp.

Mr. Riveros is a graduate of the Interlochen Arts Academy, where he studied with Joan Raeburn Holland. His orchestral experience includes participation with the Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra and Band, the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America, the Cleveland Institute of Music Orchestra, the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra, and the Round Top Festival Orchestra. During the NYO-USA residency and tour of Latin America, Mr. Riveros premiered Gabriela Lena-Frank’s, “Apu: Tone Poem for Orchestra”, and gave his Carnegie Hall and international debuts as a part of the program. His past instructors include Alison Read and Joan Holland. Passionate about the art of pedagogy, Juan has previously led the GISD Summer String Camp Harp Program and is available to teach privately in Cleveland or via online platforms.

Claire Thai is an internationally recognized harpist, most recently having won a prestigious Lyon and Healy Award, 1st place at the Suoni d’Arpa competition in Italy, and 1st Place at the 2019 American Harp Society competition at the age of 19.  She is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Music in Harp Performance at the Curtis Institute of Music.  Other recent successes include 1st place at the 1st international Portuguese harp competition, as well as 1st place at the Young Artist’s Harp Seminar international competition.  In 2017, she performed in Hong Kong as part of the World Harp Congress.

Some of her notable performances include the Ginastera Harp Concerto with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra, and the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra, the Renie Harp Concerto with the TSO, the Dubois Fantasie with TPYO, the Handel Harp Concerto and the Ravel Introduction and Allegro with the Rocky Ridge Orchestra, and the Gliere Harp Concerto with the Civic Orchestra of Tucson.  

Born and raised in Tucson, Arizona, Claire began study of the harp at age 5 and piano at age 4.  She has studied with numerous world-renowned harpists including Elizabeth Hainen, Dr. Carrol McLaughlin, Dr. Christine Vivona, Lynne Aspnes, and Courtney Hershey Bress, and has performed in masterclasses for Emmanuel Ceysson, Nancy Allen, Maria Luisa Rayan, and Alice Giles.  Claire has also performed under the baton of Yannick Nezet-Seguin, Mark Russel Smith, and Jose Luis Gomez.  

Heather Cornelius is currently studying for her Master’s degree with Kathy Kienzle at the University of Minnesota. She received her Bachelor of Music from The Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, Ontario, where she studied with Judy Loman. She has won several prizes in the American Harp Society National Competition, as well as three first prizes in her division in various concerto competitions.


We are very grateful to our dedicated and distinguished adjudication panel, all of whom worked long into the night to deliver thoughtful and careful judging results for each competitor: Dr. Jeffrey Parsons (Corvallis, OR), Robert Sutter (Chicago, IL), and Prof. Marguerite Lynn Williams (Chicago, IL).

In the next few days the Competition Committee will be contacting each of the winners to confirm mailing addresses for the awards. The American Harp Society Foundation Board of Directors will be working with the American Harp Society Board to try and determine where or if a Winners’ Recital can be organized eventually.

Three scholarship awards of $2,000 each are given to the winners, thanks to the generous support from the Anne and Dr. Burton Adams, Sally Maxwell/Doris Calkins, and the Doris E. Nebergall Funds. Lyon & Healy, an integral sponsor of this competition since its inception, provides a gift certificate to each of the three winners and honors them on a permanent plaque displayed in the Lyon & Healy showroom.

With gratitude to all who helped make this competition possible,

American Harp Society Foundation Board of Directors and
Competition Committee, Frances Duffy, Director
Carrie Kourkoumelis, President
American Harp Society Foundation
Kathleen Bride, Vice President
Holly Avesian, Secretary
Penny Howk Beavers, Treasurer and Donor Relations
Frances Duffy
Kristina Finch
Jaymee Haefner
Elizabeth Huntley
Paula Page
Karen Lindquist Speyer, AHS Liaison

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