Sue Rothstein's Musical Biography

Sue pic

Photo by Tess Hanneman

Sue Rothstein has led a successful career as a freelance harpist, composer and harp teacher following her classical training with the late renowned Renata Scheffel-Stein at the Royal Academy of Music. Her harmony teacher was the late Dr Paul Steinitz who encouraged Sue with her compositions. For this she will always be grateful. Sue has won various awards and was the first recipient of the Renata Scheffel-Stein prize. She was also a prize winner at the first National Harp Competition held in Oxford.

Following her studies Sue was appointed principal harpist of the Bremerhaven Stadt Orchestra in Germany. After returning to London to work as a freelance player she performed with numerous orchestras, particularly the BBC Concert Orchestra and English National Ballet, and made regular trips to play with The Ulster Orchestra and the Symphony Orchestra of Tenerife. Sue has taken part in many concerts and recordings working under conductors such as Vladimir Ashkenazy, Vernon Handley and Barry Wordsworth. Together with Sarah Deere-Jones she formed The London Harp Duo performing up and down the country at festivals and functions, making live broadcasts for BBC television and sailing round the world on the QE2. As a soloist and chamber artiste Sue has worked with several ensembles, notably the Fine Arts Chamber Ensemble with her late father, Jack Rothstein.

Being a versatile player has also given Sue opportunities to work for pop musicians such as Petula Clark, Barry White and Heaven 17. She has played at numerous weddings and private events, including some for British and foreign royalty, using many of her own harp arrangements and compositions. Sue’s latest collaboration is with singer Bronwen Harrison in their duo, Harpeggiola.

As a composer, Sue has written serious and light pieces primarily for combinations of harp, piano and voice. Several of her works were premiered at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance as part of the Camac Days Festival in 2007 and 2009, including her Lament for harp and string quartet/string orchestra. For many years her beginners’ pieces from Animals on the Harp have been on the Grade II Trinity Harp Exam Syllabus, as well as being used as set pieces for competitions abroad. In 2012, pieces chosen from The Dream Studies and Three Moods were added to Trinity’s Grade VI and Grade VIII respectively. A list of Sue’s pieces that are on the new 2016-19 Syllabus can be found on the Music Index page.

Sue is also a passionate harp teacher. Her pupils have won places at prestigious music schools and colleges. Her beginners’ pieces aim to help the harpist develop good techniques early on, whilst being imaginative and fun to play. As well as teaching privately Sue taught at the Latymer Saturday Music Centre and Bedales School for several years. In 2014 Sue was appointed Harp Teacher at Junior Trinity, where she now works alongside her esteemed colleague and friend Gabriella Dall’Olio. Sue also enjoys coaching on music courses in the UK and abroad and adjudicating for music festivals.