Bertha Boynton Bean Chair
Marguerite Lynn Williams joined the Minnesota Orchestra as principal harp in September 2020, after serving as principal harpist of the Lyric Opera of Chicago. She is also a founding member of the Chicago Harp Quartet, International Chamber Artists and La Folia (harp and flute duo), and often collaborates with musicians from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Lyric Opera of Chicago. In addition to being a member of the faculty at the Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University and the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University, she is the founder of the Chicago Harp Ensemble and has been the director of this student ensemble since 2010.
Williams has performed in a range of distinguished venues such as the Berliner Philharmonie, Carnegie Hall, National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing, Philharmonie de Paris, Royal Albert Hall, Chicago’s Symphony Center, Tchaikovsky Concert Hall in Moscow and Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall. She has appeared with North American orchestras including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, San Diego Symphony, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and Toronto Symphony.
She was a prizewinner at the American Harp Society, American Opera Society, Anne Adams Award, National Federation of Music Clubs, Sigma Alpha Iota and Young Arts competitions. She has appeared as a featured performer and lecturer at American Harp Society conventions and the World Harp Congress in Vancouver as well as served as judge for both the American Harp Society and Young Artist’s Harp Competitions.
Born in Dayton, Ohio, Williams began her music studies at age five on the piano and at fourteen on the harp. A student of Kathleen Bride, she received her bachelor’s degree and performer’s certificate from the Eastman School of Music. She continued her graduate studies at the Chicago College of Performing Arts, where she received her master’s degree studying with Sarah Bullen. Following her studies, she served as principal harpist of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and the New World Symphony in Miami, Florida.