Dawning of the Day
The debut recording of Laurie Rasmussen, "The Dawning of the Day" is a collection of traditional Celtic melodies for harp, flute and cello. Some of the tunes are well-known and others are more obscure, while "Sophia Rose" is an original composition. Laurie Rasmussen has been playing the harp for over 20 years, specializing in traditional Celtic music. As a performer she has toured across the US, Canada and Europe as a soloist and in collaboration with a variety of international musicians. In 1999 she appeared on stage nightly and served as Music Director for the Irish dance show "Spirit of the Dance" at the Eldorado in Reno, Nevada. While living in Italy in 2000-2003 she was a featured artist at Celtic music festivals around Italy and Germany, opening for The Boys of the Lough and Altan and sharing the stage with uillean pipers Diarmaid Moynihan and Massimo Giuntini, guitarist Roberto Dalla Vecchia, cellist Christian Kewitsch and the Milan-based Celtic group Inisfail. Expanding into new genres led Laurie to capture third prize at the 2007 Lyon & Healy International Jazz and Pop Harpfest competition. Music has been a part of Laurie's life since childhood when her grandmother bought her a piano. Although she did not realize her grandmother's dream of becoming an international concert pianist, that instrument launched her toward other interesting musical adventures: she learned to improvise while playing vibes in a jazz band; as a clarinet player she had many occasions to march in intricate half-time shows for the Denver Bronco football games and she spent a summer touring Austria, Switzerland and Germany with an award-winning youth orchestra. After graduating from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1985, Laurie found her calling when she fell in love with the sound of the Celtic harp and built her first instrument from a kit. This inspired her interest in the building and design aspects of the harp so she moved to California and spent two years working as a luthier. Learning about harps from the inside out was a great experience but she grew tired of breathing all that sawdust and discovered that she enjoyed playing harps more than she did building them. Time spent living and traveling in the British Isles and studying with native players instilled in her a love of the traditional Celtic genre. Consequently, her passion has become interpreting this music on the harp. An avid teacher, Laurie maintains a private studio for harp students of all ages from young children to adult beginners and has taught beginning and intermediate classes at Ventura College. She works with the Harmonic Alliance, an organization providing private education in music to children of low income families and foster homes in Santa Barbara. A popular workshop instructor, Laurie enjoys working with group classes at harp festivals and conferences on a number of topics.