Beverly Wesner-Hoehn is an acclaimed and prize-winning harpist with an extensive background in performance and teaching. She is a frequent soloist and has been featured with numerous instrumental and choral groups both in the U.S. and internationally.
A native of California, Beverly started her music study at age six on piano. Although she had become known primarily as a harpist by the time she completed a B.Mus. with an emphasis on the harp at Pacific Union College, she was also an adept performer on piano and woodwind instruments.
During her elementary and high school years she accompanied choral groups, played in band, and, for three years served as assistant conductor of the band while attending Sacramento Union Academy, now Sacramento Adventist Academy. Following graduation from SUA in 1975, she enrolled at PUC.
As an undergraduate student, Beverly continued to play woodwinds in the band and harp with the orchestra and chamber groups, as well as accompany I Cantori, PUC's select choral group. For lack of a harp teacher in the Napa Valley, she commuted to Los Angeles biweekly, where she studied with Susann McDonald, noted harp pedagogue.
In her junior year, she was able to travel to Europe, supported by a Rotary International Fellowship, where she studied French and harp at the Conservatoire Royale de la Musique in Brussels, Belgium, Francette Bartholomée. While there, she received the Jean Risler Award for Outstanding Musicianship and the Prix for Harp Performance, and was invited to play for French National Radio.
After graduating from PUC in 1979, Wesner-Hoehn continued to take lessons from McDonald at the University of Southern California, where she completed an M.Mus. in 1981. At that time, she was also awarded the USC Musicians Award and the Delta Gamma Pi Young Teachers Award.
Wesner-Hoehn began doctoral study at Indiana University in 1983, where she continued study with McDonald, who was then the harp professor at IU. She also studied organ with Marilyn Keiser and piano with Leonard Hokanson. She completed her D.M.A. with High Distinction at IU in 1989. While there, she was the recipient of the Peter Eagle Fellowship in 1984 and was awarded membership in Pi Kappa Lambda in 1986.
During her doctoral study she served as an associate instructor in the harp department for three years. In 1991 she was appointed Assistant Professor of Music at IU where her duties included harp lessons, pedagogy courses, chamber music, music history, and direction of harp ensembles. In her eight years of teaching at IU, the IU Harp Ensemble, under her direction, performed for Danish National Television as participants in the fifth World Harp Congress in Copenhagen in 1993 and with the Columbus, Ohio, Pro Musica Orchestra in 1997.
Beginning in her undergraduate study and continuing to the present, Wesner-Hoehn has given countless solos in high profile venues. She was a soloist during International Harpweek in Holland and has played at Rotary International conventions, World Harp Congress conventions, and the United States Senate Ambassadors Ball. She has played for the Friends of Music Association at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles, the Japanese government (Fukui Prefecture), and the Brisbane National Tourist Board in Australia.
She has released twelve professionally produced CDs, one being the 2006 Grammy nominated album with Composer and Pulitzer Prize winner George Crumb, entitled George Crumb, Volume 9. Each holiday season, Wesner-Hoehn performs twenty live concerts of the Nutcracker Ballet with the Sacramento Philharmonic in the pit. She is also the featured harpist with the Sacramento Choral Society and the Sacramento Children's Chorus at concerts throughout the season.
She has performed and recorded compositions by American Composer John Eaton and others with members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. When at the World Harp Congress with her harp ensemble in 1993, she was invited to perform as a soloist with Hymnia, the Danish choral ensemble. She has also performed at Walt Disney World Epcot Previews, the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, American Cancer Society Benefits and in Fine Arts recital series at PUC, Southern Adventist University and Canadian University College.
Wesner-Hoehn has been an active member of the World Harp Congress for many years. She served as its treasurer for over fifteen years and as a director of the corporate board. She was also executive director of the USA International Harp Competition for six years and later served as its treasurer.
Church music and ministry have always been a high priority in her life. She has served as a minister of music, an organist, handbell ringer, and spokesperson for maintaining higher standards in both worship music and music education in the Adventist church.
Beginning in 1999, she directed the choirs at Sacramento Adventist Academy. In her first year as choral director, she started an auditioned honor choir, Bel Canto, that was accepted to sing in Florida at the Walt Disney Epcot Center Candlelight Processional in 2006 and also sang at Carnegie Hall in May 2008. During her time at SAA more than 97% of all students at SAA were involved in the music program, performing over thirty concerts each year. Dr. Bev, as students and friends knew her, also maintained a private teaching studio on campus for her harp and piano students.
Wesner-Hoehn presently teaches Harp at Sacramento State University and continues to be active as a performer, particularly enjoying her work with Trio Brio, a virtuoso ensemble of viola, flute, and harp.
Sources: Interview with Wesner-Hoehn, 2007; Vita (2000); Press Release (2000); Biographical Sketch, International Adventist Musicians Association Newsletters, Summer 1987, 38,39; Beverly Wesner-Hoehn, "I Believe in Adventist colleges, But . . . , " IAMA Newsletter, Summer 1988, 32-35; personal knowledge; Biography at Harp Sounds (2013), drbevharp.com.