Hailed by the LA Times as an "excellent player" and "a force field unto her own, yet joined in something bigger, " Alison Bjorkedal is a passionate ambassador for the harp, with a focus on new music. She is a GRAMMY award-winning musician who performs, records, and teaches in the greater Los Angeles area.
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, Mary J. Blige (Thank You), Adrian Younge, and 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 appeared in two PBS Specials for David Foster and Andrea Bocelli; "My Christmas" and "Cinema" and the Pentatonix's "A Very Pentatonix Christmas".
She is a member of Southwest Chamber Music, Golden State Pops Orchestra and MUSE/IQUE. Alison has performed with the San Diego Symphony, Pasadena Symphony/Pops Orchestra, Long Beach Symphony, Long Beach Opera, Opera Santa Barbara and wildUP.
As an advocate for contemporary music, 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".
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 Pasadena Symphony and Downey Symphony Orchestra. She performed Lei Liang's "Harp Concerto" with UC San Diego New Music Ensemble "Palimpsest".
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, where she studied with JoAnn Turovsky. Alison received her Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Oregon (magna cum laude) where she studied harp with Sally Maxwell and Laura Zaerr.
Alison is on faculty at California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), Pasadena City College, and the Claremont Colleges (Pomona College, Scripps, Claremont McKenna, Pitzer College, Harvey Mudd). She also gives private harp lessons.
Alison also plays the Kithara 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 wildly unique music and instruments of Harry Partch here.