Alyssa Reit

For more than 30 years Alyssa has worked as an independent performer, composer and arranger. She completed her Bachelors and Master's degrees at the Juilliard School as a student of the late Marcel Grandjany. As a harpist she has performed with institutions ranging from the world renowned vocal quartet Anonymous 4, the Pittsburgh Symphony, and the Metropolitan Opera, to contemporary music groups and traditional Irish bands; she has played in such well known, diverse venues as Carnegie Hall, Merkin Hall, Tully Hall, BAM, the Public Theater, and the Kitchen. She worked with composer John Cage and helped organize "The Grand Harp Event" at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, and "The Garden of Harps" at the Museum of Modern Art. Recently, she joined forces with New Music New York, and co-produced a concert of new works for their spring 2008 series. As a composer, her work "American Songs" has been performed nationally by the Eastern Brass Quintet, she has done sound design for the well-known storyteller Laura Simms, and in January 2006 the Greenwich Symphony Orchestra premiered her work for strings, "Legends of Isis." In collaboration with Johanna Rose, she produced the Sunflower Story Arts Festival in the spring of 2009. She is founder, artistic director, and resident composer for Singing Harp, an arts troupe directed by New York stage director Terrence Montgomery. The company presents fairy tales, myths, and classic stories in dramatic and musical forms, performing in locations ranging from schools and small local libraries to such esteemed venues as the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts. They have received grants from NYSCA and the Westchester Arts Council, and recently were awarded a second major grant from the Rudyard and Emanualla Reimss Fund in the Westchester Community Foundation through the Westchester Library System to present a series of performances in the 2009-2011 season Alyssa is on the Pre-College Division faculty of the Manhattan School of Music, and on the faculty of the Music Conservatory of Westchester.

Concert Dates

  • November 11, 2012 - New York City, Jan Hus Church, New York City
  • May 29, 2011 - New York City, Jan Hus Church, New York City

15 one-minute selections for Alyssa Reit

  • Baiao

    Douglas DaSilva

    Douglas DaSilva is a composer, guitarist, educator and Artistic Director of the Composer's Voice Concert Series and Premiere Salon Concerts in New York City. He composes in various styles including jazz, pop, children's music, chamber music and experimental. Much of his writing is influenced by Brazilian music and self-inflicted stress.

    "Baiao" is a culture from Brazil's North East. Its spirit is expressed in the way-of-life, the dress, the food and most significantly, the music. The Baiao rhythm has infected most of my compositions whether experimental of pop. It is presented here in a unusual environment the harp.

  • the Rainmaker

    Murray Gross

    An award-winning composer and conductor, Murray Gross studied at New England Conservatory, Oberlin College, and Michigan State University. Currently on the faculty at Alma College (Michigan), his compositions have been performed by the New York New Music Ensemble, the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, and numerous professional and collegiate ensembles.

    Rain is always welcome by the Zuni people, as it provides necessary moisture to crops. Many familiar designs used in Zuni pottery and painting symbolize rain, and dances in prayer for rain are performed throughout the year. The Rainmaker, an incantation, uses the Zuni word for rain - ti dokkya.

  • It bites

    Anton Killin

    Anton Killin is a New Zealand-based composer of instrumental and electroacoustic music.

    'It bites' was composed especially for Alyssa Reit during the summer (February) of 2011. The piece comprises musical material designed to weave the sounds of two lines, one higher and one lower, in and out of each other, a constant state of flux, contrast, and sustain.

  • Goltrai

    Fiona Linnane

    Fiona Linnane BMus (UCC), MA (UL) Irish musician, educator and composer based in the west of Ireland. Fiona studied composition at the Royal Irish academy of music with Kevin O'Connell and was co-founder of CoMA Limerick in 2008.

    The Irish harpist of olden days was expected to have the ability to excite goltrai (Sorrow), geantrai (laughter) and suantrai (tiredness). "Goltrai" is a miniature for lever harp, a simple tune in the aeolian mode written when many Irish are once again being forced to leave their native shores.

  • Harpzanza

    Charles Norman Mason

    Charles Norman Mason has received many awards for his compositions including the 2005 Rome Prize and the American Composers Orchestra "Playing it Unsafe" commission prize. Dr. Mason is associate professor of composition at the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami. His website is

    "Harpzanza" alludes to the African instrument (zanza or sanza) consisting of a wooden box with metal tongues that are plucked.

  • Victory Dance for Dread

    Robinson McClellan

    Robinson McClellan's music has been commissioned by the Albany Symphony and many others, and he has done residencies at MacDowell and Yaddo. He teaches at St. Francis College, Rutgers, and the Lucy Moses School. He earned his composition doctorate at the Yale School of Music. Please visit

    This piece is a celebration dance, inspired by the medieval Welsh harp 'binary' system of ones and zeroes representing two chords that alternate in intricate patterns. The bass line in my piece follows the pattern of the date of my (successful) doctoral defense: 10/01/2010. Alyssa was there.

  • Ephemera

    Richard Pressley

    Richard Pressley teaches at Ball State University and has enjoyed performances in the U.S. and Europe. He attended Butler University, Cambridge, and the University of Minnesota, with post-doctoral study in Germany. His instructors include Wolfgang Rihm, Sandeep Bhagwati, Dominick Argento, Judith Zaimont, Alex Lubet, Daniel Chua, Michael Schelle.

  • More Thoughts

    Malcolm Rector

    "More Thoughts" is the second movement of a multi movement work I composed for solo harp a few years ago when reflecting on my life at the time when I was living in North Carolina. Here, I felt a moment of lightness, not too serious. But thoughts are always around.

  • Harp Song

    Alyssa Reit

    "Harp Song" was written initially as a lament in response to the loss of a friend. The lever harp is used to explore different harmonic settings in each octave, which allows tonal combinations not possible on the pedal harp.

  • In a Minor Groove

    Bob Siebert

    I received my Bachelor and Masters of Music Degrees from Manhattan School of Music, and have been a performer/composer/teacher in the New York area for the past thirty five years. My music runs the gambit from pop influenced electronic realism through reinvented jazz standards to experimental electronic pieces and music for the African thumb piano.

    Dig this tune! Moody and filled with beat! The delicate sound of the harp gives this minimalist piece its coolness.


    Greg A Steinke

    Dr. Greg A Steinke is a composer of chamber and symphonic music and author with published/recorded works and performances across the U. S. and internationally; speaker on interdisciplinary arts, and oboist specializing in contemporary music.

    for Harp by Greg A Steinke
    Composition based on the following poetic image:

    Yesterday, I heard the wind
    Blowing upon the wind.
    I saw the sun shining upon
    The sun and the ocean trying
    To drown itself with its surf.

    I saw the moon from
    The other side of the world
    Reflecting upon itself.
    I saw stars striking out
    Upon others, and dying
    In their efforts...

    I saw a bloody hand
    On the evening sky
    Reaching out for infinity
    And finding man's emptiness;
    The wind began to blow upon the wind.

    K'os Naahaabii (Don Jordan) from NOTES FROM THE CENTER OF THE EARTH 1974, Blue Oak Press, Auburn, CA

  • Deceived

    Nolan Stolz

    Dr. Nolan Stolz's music has been performed throughout the United States, Canada, South America, and Europe. Stolz is currently a Visiting Lecturer at UNLV, where he teaches undergraduate and graduate music theory and composition. He is also a drum set performer in both the rock and jazz styles.

    "Deceived" is a one-minute work for solo harp that expresses the feelings one experiences when deceived (hurt, anger, disappointment, etc.) The tuning of the harp is very dark: three adjacent half-steps (B#-C#-D) and four adjacent half-steps (E#-F#-G-Ab). This is probably the darkest, most dissonant tuning possible on a harp, given its pedal construction.

  • Urania

    Gregoria Karides Suchy

    Gregoria Karides Suchy, award-winning composer and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Professor Emerita of Composition and Technology, is often inspired by the music of her Greek heritage. Performances of her compositions include those by the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra (American Composers Festival) and the International Society of Contemporary Music.

    "Urania," from the Greek word Ourania (meaning heavenly and celestial), is the muse of astronomy and astrology. Inspired by the above, the composer uses the harp as her tonal paintbrush to capture the ever-changing mysteries of the universe with soft runs on the harp that slowly shift in modality.

  • Albumblatt

    Luca Vanneschi

    Luca Vanneschi (b. 1962 in Montepulciano) received a diploma in flute at the "Morlacchi" Conservatory of Music in Perugia, where he studied under Roberto Fabbriciani. He then studied composition with Detlev Glanert, Carlo Alberto Neri, David Graham, and Dinu Ghezzo. Hans Werner Henze said about his music: " is an intelligent, non conformist, elegant and full of grace music."

    "Albumblatt" is a brief impromptu for harp, structured to give the player some margin of freedom. The sonorous plot is set up in harmonic background and settles down on light and gentle sounds, that follow one after the other in a repeated pattern, evoking a rarefied and eerie twilight atmosphere.

  • They Found the Body

    Joshua Wise

    My name is Joshua Wise, and I am an undergraduate freshman composition student at the University of Missouri - Kansas City's Conservatory of Music and Dance. I started composing my Junior Year of High school, and since then I have had four performances of works at various school concerts and outside gatherings.

    This piece, "They Found the Body," is a brief, dark piece that utilizes a 12-tone row that is played out over the course of the piece. I felt it was fitting to use this idea in a shorter piece, allowing it to state what needs to be stated and nothing more.