“Beautifully sung” and “masterfully played” (Cleveland Classical) are just some of the accolades soprano and harpist Anna O’Connell has received performing in Cleveland, Ohio, while working on her doctorate of musical arts at Case Western Reserve University. Anna is seen frequently, performing in ensembles and as a soloist with Apollo’s Fire Baroque Orchestra, the Cleveland Chamber Choir and Quire Cleveland. She likewise lends her voice to various churches each weekend. O’Connell studied conducting at the University of Southern California, and music education at Providence College, using her degrees to direct church choirs for four years in Ithaca, NY. Since starting her graduate program at Case Western, she has found her true calling in research and performance of her various medieval, renaissance, and baroque harps, specializing in self-accompaniment from the medieval to the baroque eras. Her duo with violinist Addi Liu, Time Stands Still, was presented in the 2021 Early Music America Emerging Artist Showcase.
An avid traveler, she has sung in the Vatican, at the Great Wall of China, on the top of Haleakela Mountain in Maui, in the Isabella Stuart Gardner Museum in Boston, St. Martin in the Fields in London, Hong Kong with the HK Early Music Society, and in Krakow at the 2016 World Youth Day celebration. In summer of 2022, she was awarded the Barbara Thornton Memorial Scholarship from Early Music America, which allowed her to seek out teachers of voice, harp, and dance, studying medieval music in Italy and England, where she salivated over Tuscan pasta and bassa dansa steps. Her research in medieval music includes the evolution of German sangspruchdichtern, a musical/poetic form that lasted well into the renaissance, and early 1600s music, especially that of Francesca Caccini and women performers of the Medici court. Outside the academic sphere, Anna is a folk harpist, appearing on the sound track to Netflix’s The Witcher Soundtrack, and her own EP Folk Tale War. Her triple harp can be heard on several recordings with Apollo’s Fire. Anna O’Connell has studied voice with Ellen Hargis, Dina Kuznetsova, and historical harps with Maxine Eilander.