A Harp Heard Around the World
By Mark Fleshman
A January blizzard was covering Moscow, Russia in heavy snow. Taylor Ann walked with applause onto the stage to perform as a soloist with the Moscow Symphony, something she had prepared for her entire life. The story begins with Taylor Ann Fleshman starting piano lessons at five years of age. Her parents quickly recognized Taylor had a love of music and when she reached age seven, they introduced her to the harp as a second instrument. In a few weeks she was strumming out simple songs.
A harp teacher, Julie Money, was contacted for lessons. Julie felt Taylor was too young and advised her parents to call again when she was ten. Taylor’s father asked if they could bring Taylor by to play for the teacher and she agreed, adding she likely would not teach her. On arrival, this small child played two brief songs while Julie watched closely. When Taylor finished the teacher looked up and stated, “I will teach this child.” She later explained that Taylor had tremendous concentration for her age.
Taylor worked faithfully at piano and harp and at age nine took up the flute in her school band. She took every opportunity she could performing at churches, schools, assisted living homes and weddings. She was a regular at Kernersville C&H Cafeteria where patrons rewarded her with tips. Taylor saved the money she earned to help buy harps.
After eight years, Taylor was accepted into the UNCSA High School Program with Harp Professor Jackie Bartlett. She, under Professor Bartlett’s instruction, landed performances in venues like The Stevens Center, Biltmore House Christmas and Koury Convention Center. Professor Bartlett introduced Taylor to Lynnelle Ediger founder of the American Youth Harp Ensemble in Richmond, Va. Attending harp summer camps several years, Taylor was invited to perform with this renown ensemble around the world. Performing in great cathedrals and royal castles heightened Taylor’s desire to perform and travel. After high school Taylor attended the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music with Professor Gillian Sella. New performance opportunities included the Cincinnati Symphony, the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra. During the summers Taylor auditioned for and attended the Aspen Music Festival, Bowdoin Music Festival and the Pacific Region International Music Academy where she met Russian Conductor, Arthur Arnold.
Taylor Ann Fleshman made history in Moscow, Russia performing a lost harp concerto by Russian Composer Alexander Mosolov. A prolific composer in the 1930s Russia, Mosolov composed a four-movement harp concerto. It was performed in 1939 with famed Russian Harpist Vera Dulova in Tchaikovsky’s Great Hall at the Moscow Conservatory. Only three movements were performed that night. Shortly after, Mosolov was arrested by the Soviets as they viewed his music as too progressive and anti-government. He never rose to prominence again and much of his music was lost.
Fast forward to January 2019 when Moscow Symphony Orchestra Conductor, Arthur Arnold locates Mosolovs missing Harp Concerto and restores all the parts for orchestra performance. Arnold invited Kernersville Harpist Taylor Ann Fleshman to come to Moscow to World Premier all four movements of the concerto in that same Tchaikovsky’s Great Hall 80 years later. Mosolovs works were back to the forefront with standing ovations in a snowy blizzard.
Taylor also recorded in a Moscow Studio three days with the MSO for the Naxos Label. She narrowly missed the opportunity as Winter Storm Harper (of all names) grounded her flight to Moscow from the Midwest where she is earning her Masters in Harp Performance with Florence Sitruk. Air France saved the day with a last-minute flight to Moscow via Paris.
Next, Taylor performed the North American Premier of the Mosolov Harp Concerto at the Pacific Region International Music Festival with the PRISMA Orchestra and Arthur Arnold conducting. A movie is also in the works on the life of Alexander Mosolov with Taylor performing the films score. Google Mosolovs Suitcase to view the movie trailer.
Taylor Ann Fleshman’s globetrotting continued this year as she traveled to Jakarta Indonesia where she toured with the Jakarta Simfonia Orchestra performing in Indonesia, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. After a bout with Typhoid, Taylor suffered a short stay in a Jakarta hospital before going on to Singapore by wheelchair. Taylor Ann returned to Kernersville for 24 hours and headed to Indiana University where she has also performed with the Chicago Civic Orchestra and other regional orchestras. She performed with the band Evanescence and Celtic Thunder at the Chicago Theatre. She has also concertized in The Czech Republic, Austria, England, Norway, Belgium, The Netherlands, Australia and Canada. Not bad for a little Kernersville farm girl. This month, Taylor Ann is heading to Hungary and continues to appreciate the support she has garnered from Kernersville residents.
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