After eight years of collaboration, harpists and ensemble directors Lynnelle Ediger, M.M., adjunct associate professor of harp at Shenandoah University, Claire Jones (United Kingdom) and composer Chris Marshall (U.K.) are thrilled to announce the release of their highly anticipated harp ensemble album, “2K+ Fusion.”
The culmination of a remarkable journey, this album showcases the combined talents of their respective harp ensembles: the American Youth Harp Ensemble, the Shenandoah Conservatory Harp Studio and the Claire Jones Harp Ensemble. With prestigious performance credits, including appearances for British royalty, as well as at Carnegie Hall, The White House and the Welsh Proms, this album is a testament to their dedication and passion for music and developing the next generation of professional harpists.
I was thrilled to invite my Shenandoah Conservatory harp students to participate in this once-in-a-lifetime recording project at Abbey Road Studios in London. The experience was nothing short of extraordinary – from the meticulous rehearsals leading up to it to the high level of artistry achieved in the studio while witnessing the ‘behind the scenes’ expertise of world-class sound engineers. What an educationally rich and rewarding experience for our harpists!”
– Lynnelle Ediger
A groundbreaking moment in the music world, the “2K+ Fusion” album recording occurred at the iconic Abbey Road Studios in London, known for hosting some of the most legendary artists in history. This truly extraordinary project features the combined talents of 35 young harpists; the size of the gathering is a first in the studio’s storied history. This international collaboration is a true celebration of their artistic relationship and presents the harp in a way that has never been heard before.
We were fortunate to receive personal invitations to engage with faculty, students and scholars at esteemed cultural institutions like the Royal Academy of Music, providing the harpists with invaluable insights. Collaborating with U.K. harpists also allowed for a meaningful cultural exchange. Amidst our musical pursuits, we explored historic landmarks such as Windsor Castle, the British Museum, and Covent Garden Opera House. We even enjoyed a special invitation to a West End Show directed by the same conductor who produced our album. I am honored to support our harpists in their musical and professional journey, nurturing their unique career paths with a focus on versatility, entrepreneurship, and artistry through remarkable opportunities like the Abbey Road project.”
– Lynnelle Ediger
Shenandoah Conservatory harp students Brynn Olden ’25 (Bachelor of Music in Performance) and Serenity Flores ’25 (Bachelor of Music in Performance) participated in the once-in-lifetime U.K. opportunity in February 2022.
The opportunity to record an album at Abbey Road Studios is one I’ll never forget. In retrospect, it all happened so fast. The introduction, the preparation, the journey were all over in under two months. Leading up to the trip, the preparation was rigorous, but I knew that the more work I put in ahead of time, the more I’d be able to enjoy my recording experience and the trip as a whole. This journey gave me the real-world experience of recording in a professional studio while also exposing me to the sights of England.”
– Serenity Flores ’25 (Bachelor of Music in Performance)
It was honestly perspective-shifting to see what it is like to achieve such ambitious goals. Putting in so much effort and hard work toward something that barely seemed real until the end made me realize what successful musicians go through, or at least a fraction of it. I felt inspired to continue my career with this in my heart, to help me remember that I can achieve more than I initially thought I ever would.”
– Brynn Olden ’25 (Bachelor of Music in Performance)
“2K+ Fusion” presents a captivating and unique repertoire. Composer Chris Marshall, the creative force behind the project and its executive producer, arranged nine bespoke pieces for the collaboration and one original composition, “Andalucia,” written specifically for this project. These arrangements include well-known tunes from the worlds of film, classical, Broadway and traditional folk music. The album is not only a musical journey but also a testament to the limitless possibilities of the harp. 2K+ features the accompaniment of some of London’s finest session musicians, adding richness to the recordings.
Upon release of the first two singles from the album in December 2023, the singles shot up to No. 1 and No. 2 and held the title for over a week in the iTunes Classical Crossover Charts.
The American Youth Harp Ensemble (AYHE) is hailed as a “national cultural treasure” by the U.S. Department of State. Founded in 1995 by Lynnelle Ediger, the AYHE has garnered acclaim for its musical excellence with over 1,000 performances, recordings, and media features worldwide. With an annual audience reach exceeding one million listeners, the ensemble boasts an impressive track record of 30 national and international tours, with highlights including ones in Australia, Canada, Ireland, Belgium, Norway, Austria, Germany, the Czech Republic, Italy, France, the Netherlands, as well as the UK. The AYHE’s performances have consistently garnered acclaim, including sold-out performances at renowned venues such as Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, Salle Gaveau in Paris, St. John’s Smith Square in London, and Carnegie Hall, where it has graced the stage four times. Other highlights include appearances at the White House, Washington National Cathedral, and on the Queen Mary 2; joint tours with the Claire Jones Harp Ensemble; and as features on two national network television specials. Its 2016 CD was considered for a prestigious Grammy Award.
Lynnelle Ediger, an internationally acclaimed harpist and music educator, has left an indelible mark on the world of the harp over the past 30 years. She has passionately dedicated herself to the art of teaching the next generation of professional harpists and has elevated the level of performance and recognition for the harp ensemble as a unique art form. Her expertise has influenced over 2,000 harp students who have won international and national competitions, established solo careers, landed recording contracts, and performed with the world’s leading orchestras. She currently serves as a faculty member of Shenandoah Conservatory as the harp professor. She is also the visionary founder and director of the American Youth Harp Ensemble, Virginia Choristers, and GreenSpring International Academy of Music, and has earned recognition for these programs as the standard bearers of excellence in music education, most recently hailed by the U.S. Department of State as “national cultural treasures.”
The Claire Jones Harp Ensemble, under the expert professional guidance of Claire Jones and Chris Marshall for the past five years, is a collective of exceptionally talented young harpists hailing from all corners of the UK. This ensemble includes young professionals performing with prestigious institutions such as the English National Opera, BBC National and Philharmonia Orchestras, Royal Academy of Music, Royal College of Music, Birmingham Conservatoire, Royal Holloway, and the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain. It has performed in outstanding venues like the Brangwyn Hall in Swansea, Wales, and the Aberystwyth International MusicFest, and in 2019, it made its debut at the prestigious Welsh Proms in St. David’s Hall. Forming a unique international harp ensemble, it has collaborated with the American Youth Harp Ensemble for two tours, including England and Wales in 2017, and the East Coast of the United States in 2018.
Claire Jones is a renowned figure within the music industry, renowned for her role as the Official Harpist to HRH The Prince of Wales from 2007 to 2011. Her illustrious career encompasses over 180 solo performances at royal and state functions, including one-to-one for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II; for 75,000 people at Millennium Stadium, as the organizer of 60 harps for the then Prince of Wales’ 60th birthday; and most notably, the wedding reception of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. She achieved global recognition through a media frenzy surrounding this event. From 2010 to 2017, Jones solidified her position as a distinguished solo recording artist, achieving classical chart-topping success with albums such as “The Girl With The Golden Harp” (Classic FM/Universal), “The Highgrove Suite” (Classic FM/Decca/ Universal Music), “Journey” (Silva Screen Records), “This Love” (Silva Screen), and “Harp Concertos” (Signum Classics), together with her husband, renowned composer and arranger Chris Marshall.
Chris Marshall, hailing from Cardiff, Wales, and a graduate of Trinity College of Music, boasts a multifaceted career as a performer and composer. His extensive travels and performances include collaborations with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the English National Ballet, London Mozart Players, the Royal Shakespeare Company, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, and his wife Claire Jones. In addition to his work in London’s West End and international touring productions, including “We Will Rock You,” “Wizard of Oz,” “Zorro,” “West Side Story,” “Evita,” and “Elf the Musical,” Marshall balances his demanding performance schedule with a flourishing career as a composer and arranger.