Alison Bjorkedal, harp, is a freelance GRAMMY award-winning musician who teaches and performs in the Los Angeles area. She is a member of Southwest Chamber Music, Golden State Pops Orchestra and MUSE/IQUE. She has performed with the San Diego Symphony, Pasadena Symphony/Pops Orchestra, Long Beach Symphony, Long Beach Opera, Opera Santa Barbara and wildUP. Alison is harp faculty at California Institute of the Arts (CalArts).
Named "excellent player" and "enterprising young harpist" by the Los Angeles Times, Alison's notable chamber music performances include the world premieres of William Kraft's Encounters XII for harp and percussion; Anne LeBaron's HSING for solo harp and LeBaron's "Some Things Should Not Move" for soprano, flute, harp and double bass; and Wadada Leo Smith's Ten Freedom Summers, a 2013 Pulitzer Prize finalist.
Her chamber recordings include Grammy winning Harry Partch "Plectra and Percussion Dances", Southwest Chamber Music's "Complete Chamber Music of Carlos Chávez, Volume 4" and William Kraft's "Encounters", both Latin-Grammy nominated. As part of Just Strings, she released "Harrison: Works for harp, guitar and percussion".
Her US premieres include Gabriela Ortiz's Rio de las Mariposas for two harps and steel drum; Ton That Thiet's Les Jardins De Autre Monde for solo harp and mixed ensemble; Nguyen Thien Daos' Au Dessus de Vent for solo harp and strings; and Unsuk Chin's Cosmigimmicks. She was featured as soloist with the Downey Symphony Orchestra and performed Lei Liang's "Harp Concerto" with UC San Diego New Music Ensemble "Palimpsest".
In the studio and stage, Alison has performed for artists including Sia ("Salted Wound", "Jesus Wept," "Unforgettable" from "Finding Dory), Madonna (Rebel Heart), Nate Ruess (Grand Romantic), Kid Cudi (Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin'), Il Divo, Idina Menzel, Salaam Remi, Adrian Younge, Ali Shaheed Muhammed. She records for the motion picture and television industry (Penny Dreadful, Empire, Luke Cage, Finding Dory, Love, Simon, Independence Day: Resurgence, If I Stay, Lucy in the Sky, Annabelle Comes Home, IT 2 ) and accompanied singer Andrea Bocelli in two PBS Specials for David Foster and Andrea Bocelli; "My Christmas" and "Cinema."
Alison was born and raised in Kennewick, WA. She earned her Masters and Doctorate of Musical Arts degree in harp performance from the USC Thornton School of Music. While at the Thornton School, Alison studied with JoAnn Turovsky and was a teaching assistant for the beginning harp class. She received her Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Oregon (magna cum laude) where she studied harp with Sally Maxwell and Laura Zaerr.
In addition to teaching at CalArts, Alison teaches Music Appreciation at Pasadena City College and maintains a private harp studio.
Alison also plays the Kithara (an instrument created for the music of Harry Partch) with LA-based ensemble Partch. Partch's 2014 recording "Plectra and Percussion Dances" took home the 2014 GRAMMY for Best Classical Compendium. Learn more about the instruments of Harry Partch here.