Julia's Biography

Julia Cunningham is a harpist/composer navigating a perpetually evolving creative journey. Born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Julia began playing the piano as soon as she could reach it. By the time she started playing the harp, she had already fueled her passion for music and had won numerous music competitions in her native Saskatchewan.

Julia received her Bachelor of Music degree from The University of Victoria, a Master of Music Degree from Yale University and a Performance Diploma from the National Conservatory of Nice, France. Recipient of a Grant from the Canada Council of the Arts, Julia moved to France in 1998 to study harp with her mentor: Elisabeth Fontan-Binoche at the National Conservatory of Nice. While in France she won several competitions for the Celtic harp including "Premier Prix” at the 1998 UFAM Competition in Paris and Prix du SACEM at the International Celtic Harp Festival Competition in Dinan.

Julia’s many orchestral collaborations include: The Los Angeles Symphony, The Vancouver & Victoria Symphony Orchestras, Orchestra Classica Italiana, The Cannes Philharmonic, Opera de Nice, The Chinese Broadcasting Orchestra and The Kuala Lumpur Philharmonic.
High profile engagements include concerts for Pope John Paul II at the Vatican in Rome, performances with Luciano Pavarotti (Pavarotti and Friends) in Modena, Italy, Top of the Pops UK, The Jools Holland Hootenanny show (BBC) and Late Night with Conan O'Brian. From 2002-2005 Julia toured the world as "Soul Harpist" to the late great King of Rock & Soul: Solomon Burke.

Special events have included performances for Oprah Winfrey at her home in Montecito, The Prince of Monaco, The Prince of Wales, British Fashion Week in Los Angeles, The BMW 5 Series Launch in Malaysia, The Grand Prix in Monte-Carlo, The Cannes Film Festival and for countless other private functions world-wide.

Julia has held regular engagements as harpist for The Hotel de Paris in Monte Carlo, The Hotel Principe di Savoia in Milan and The Hotel Bel Air in Los Angeles, California.
Julia’s music combines the harmonic resources from her formal classical training and the open approach of a Celtic Harper with her sensibility to a vast array of influences from the diverse cultures in which she has lived. As a result, her music spans the breadth of many genres, and yet remains distinctively her own. Her CD recordings: "Spa Harp -Music for Meditation, Wellness & Peace" (2015), "Julia's Memories of Christmas" (2010), “Mariposa" (2009) and “Peaceful Night” (2006) have received rave reviews from around the globe.

AWARDS:

  • Yale University School of Music Alumni Ventures Award, 2009
  • Canada Council for the Arts Grant for Professional Musicians
  • First Prize UFAM International Harp Competition - Celtic Harp
  • Johann Strauss Foundation Scholarship, Mozarteum, Salzburg
  • HCHS Wall of Fame, Saskatoon, Canada
  • Yale Alumni Association Prize, 1999