According to historical records, French Queen Marie Antoinette’s favorite instrument was the harp.  She took lessons from the famous German harpist Philippe Joseph Hinner, who was also a noted composer.  On Saturday, February 26 at 8 p.m., Rochester audiences will be treated to the lilting notes of harp duets that were composed by Hinner and likely listened to or possibly played by the unfortunate wife of Louis XIV of France. 

The duets will be performed on period instruments by Mike Parker, a specialist on the single action harp, and Paul Knoke, principal harpist of the Brighton Symphony Orchestra.  The concert is part of a workshop that takes place Feb. 25 through 27, given by the Historical Harp Society and presented by the Eastman Community Music School.

Parker is a musicologist and the author of Child of Pure Harmony, a sourcebook on the single action harp.  He was awarded a doctorate by the Institute of Traditional Celtic Music for his work relating to the historical usage of the harp in the Celtic nations. Parker heads the strings program in the Junior Department of the London College of Music & Media of Thames Valley University.

Knoke is a charter member and past president of the Historical Harp Society. His primary field of study is the single action pedal harp and his editions of music for the instrument are available through the Historical Harp Society.

The concert will be performed in Eastman School of Music’s Messinger Hall located at 26 Gibbs Street in Rochester.  Admission is free and open to the public;  donations to the Historical Harp Society are welcome. More information is available on the events page of The Historical Harp Society or by contacting or 585-224-9728.

Click Here to view an image of Marie Antoinette’s harp ,  created by Jean-Henri Naderman, which is elaborately decorated  lilies and a cherub bearing the Queen’s arm. Its sound board boasts paintings of Peace and Minerva, patroness of artists.