Although Park Stickney claims that it wasn’t his plan at the age of 10 to become a world-traveling jazz harpist, he did, in fact, embark on that path then by competing in the first International Jazz and Pop Harp Festival. Since then, after finishing his studies at the Juilliard School in New York, he has traveled across Europe, Asia and the U.S., as a soloist and teacher, as well as with a variety of ensembles whose music ranges from jazz to classical to rock.
Stickney has toured Hong Kong, India, and Sri Lanka four times with harpist Daphne Hellman (1995-98), taught and performed at the Umbria Jazz Festival in conjunction with the Berklee School of Music (1998), given workshops and concerts in Scotland for the Edinburgh Harp Festival (2004, 2000, 1991), the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival (1996), and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival (1998, 1996). In France, he has taught and given concerts at the Academy of Pierre Jamet in Gargilesse (1999, 1997), the “Journées de la Harpe.” in Arles, and the Festival de Harpe in Avesnois. Stickney was a guest soloist at the Soka Harp Festival in Japan, the first two Caribbean Harp Festivals in Puerto Rico, the Kansas City Festival of the Harp, and the 2002, 1999 and 1996 World Harp Congresses.
He has taught and performed in Germany at Harfentreffen Mosenberg (1998-2004), and the Süddeutsches Harfentreffen, Violau (2004, 2002, 1999). In the fall of 1999, he was invited by electro-celtic harpist Rüdiger Oppermann to perform 25 concerts in Germany as part of his International Harp Festival. Stickney returned to Germany the following year, this time for a 10-concert solo tour. As Rüdiger and Park found themselves constantly jamming together at harp festivals, they decided in 2003 to form an “official” duo, by making the critically acclaimed CD “Harp Summit” (“Two players at the top of their game share their complementary skill and empathy with the music.”- The Harp Column), touring Germany and Korea, and performing at the Edinburgh Harp Festival. This collaboration has continued in Rüdiger’s 2004 Klangwelten tour, which also features musicians from Gambia, the Cook Islands, India, and Mongolia.
2002 saw the beginning of a long-term collaboration with the Italian bassist Dino Contenti. In duo, and with other musicians (drummer Manhu Roche, guitarist Moreno D’Onofrio, violinist Rrok Jakaj, saxophonist Claudio Fassoli,) they have given numerous performances, primarily in Italy (Asti, Torino, Milano, Bergamo, Palermo, Verona, etc.), but also in Switzerland, England, Germany and Spain. This duo in turn led to two other groups, “Sixty-three Strings”, a quartet made up of Stickney and Contenti plus guitar duo Manomanouche, which plays the music of Django Reinhardt, and the “PDF trio” with violinist Florence Fourcade.
Two new recent projects are a collaboration with Swiss flutist Regula Küffer, with a program entitled “Mozart & More,” which combines classical and jazz works in an improvisational setting, and a DVD with the rock group “Crash Test Dummies” filmed in Minneapolis in October 2004. Stickney also appears on the group’s recent CD “Songs of the Unforgiven.”
An active teacher, Stickney is visiting Professor of Jazz Harp at the Royal Academy of Music in London. He has given masterclasses at the the Juilliard School, the Chopin Conservatory in Warsaw, the Hochschule für Musik und Theatre in Munich, the Barcelona Conservatory, the Ecole de Jazz et Musique Actuelle in Lausanne, and in Italy in the Conservatories of Torino and Pesaro, and has been on the faculty of the International Jazz and Pop Harp Festival since 1995. He also teaches privately in Geneva and New York.
Stickney recorded his first CD “Overdressed Late Guy,” in 1995, which was followed by a sequel “Action Harp Play Set” in 1999. He is currently preparing a third solo CD tentatively titled “Still,Life with Jazz Harp” for release in early 2005.
Stickney holds degrees from the Juilliard School (Professional Studies 1992; Masters of Music, 1991) and the University of Arizona (Bachelor of Music Cum Laude, 1988). His teachers included Nancy Allen and Carrol McLaughlin. He plays the Lyon & Healy Electro-acoustic harp, and is inordinately fond of black-cherry yogurt.
Park is often available for private and group lessons in New York, Geneva & London - please contact Park directly for more information via his web site at www.jazzharp.com
What happens when you put two virtuoso harpists, each of whom has changed the face of their instrument, together on the same stage? Rüdiger Oppermann and Park Stickney answer this question with their new duo.
In concert and in their CD "Harp Summit" you hear: Rüdiger Oppermann, Germany's Celtic Harp master, innovator and world-traveling ambassador of crossover harp music, meets maverick jazz harpist, Park Stickney (New York). Together, this “brotherhood of extreme harp” pushes back the limits of genre and style, blazing new musical paths into previously unharp-ed territory. Blues riffs howl over bass grooves, ornate melodies dance with a swinging ease, experimental sounds blend with jazz standards; in short, a packed punch of musicality and virtuosity on 100 strings. Park's simply unbelievable footwork liberates the harmonic potential of the electric concert harp, which meshes perfectly with Rüdiger's Celto-Bluesy solo sound. Standards like Miles Davis' "So What", Duke Ellington's "Caravan", and Sting's "Message in a Bottle" are interspersed with original pieces (such as Oppermann's "Tarantella", "Cool Harmonics" and "Fragile Balance") plus African musical bows, and ethnic and electronic sounds. Their debut concerts at the World Harp Congress in Geneva and at the Frankfurt Internationalen Harfenfestival brought standing ovations.
Now these two exceptional musicians play together regularly, bending the limits of their genres with delight, virtuosity and sensitivity. A world-class duo...an ear-opener for all those who thought the harp was dull... and a must for all friends of the harp and fans of Oppermann and Stickney. A joy for eye, soul and ear!