The Lyrebird Ensemble is an innovative flute and harp duo based in Chicago. The ensemble was formed in 2006, when flutist Ellen Huntington and harpist Lillian Lau began collaborating as members of the Quad City Symphony Orchestra. They are dedicated to performing lesser known repertoire written specifically for flute and harp from the late eighteenth century to the present day. Their debut recording, “Taking Flight” introduces a unique program of virtuosic compositions for the duo from the modern era.
The ensemble has appeared throughout the United States, including the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series, live broadcasts on Chicago's WFMT Fine Arts Radio, and at several National Flute Association Conventions and American Harp Society National Conferences. They were featured artists at the IV International Harp Competition and Festival in Mexico City in 2016. In addition to captivating audiences with their performances, they also present workshops on collaboration and lecture-recitals about the history and repertoire of the duo. In 2013 they commissioned and premiered Orleans Strut by Canadian Composer Cameron Wilson, a piece celebrating the musical styles of New Orleans. They founded Lyrebird Editions to publish quality works for flute and harp.
Ellen Huntington, flute
Ellen Huntington enjoys a career as a soloist, chamber musician, teacher, and orchestral musician. A Miyazawa Artist, she is second flutist with the Quad City Symphony Orchestra and has also performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra. She has been a featured artist at the Kennedy Center, Chicago Cultural Center, Augustana College, and the University of Chicago and has performed at several National Flute Association Conventions. Dr. Huntington is on the faculty of North Park University and previously taught at Loyola University Chicago.
As the recipient of a Fulbright grant, Ellen Huntington studied with Jean-Claude Gerard at the Hochschule fur Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Stuttgart, Germany. Dr. Huntington received her Doctor of Music and Bachelor of Music degrees from Northwestern University where she studied with Walfrid Kujala and Richard Graef. She was awarded a University Fellowship to pursue her Master of Music degree with Katherine Borst Jones at The Ohio State University. Her dissertation is titled "The Flute and Harp Duo in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries."
Dr. Huntington is a winner of the Union League Civic and Arts Foundation Award. She has served at the Secretary of the National Flute Association, Treasurer of the Chicago Flute Club, and on the editorial board of The Flutist Quarterly.
Visit her website at www.ellenhuntington.com
Lillian Lau, harp
Lillian Lau is in demand as an orchestral musician, educator, solo harpist and chamber music recitalist in Chicago and the Midwest. Her extensive orchestral engagements include performing as guest principal harpist on tour with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Grant Park Music Festival, Ravinia Festival, National Repertory Orchestra (Colorado), and in major concert halls throughout Europe. As a soloist, she has performed at the World Harp Congress in Switzerland, Universidad Federal de Minas Gerais of Brazil and the Conservatorio de Música de Puerto Rico. Lillian Lau is currently the Principal Harpist of Quad City and Elgin Symphony Orchestras. She has participated in critically acclaimed performances with Placido Domingo, Charles Dutoit, Sir James Galway, Riccardo Muti, Samuel Ramey, John Williams, Pinchas Zuckerman and popular touring artists in major venues.
Lillian Lau is actively involved in the harp community, serving on the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee for the American Harp Society and as a national summer institute co-chair. She is the assistant editor of the best-selling orchestral excerpt guide," Principal Harp Book 2," and "The Anthology of Harp Duets," both by Sarah Bullen of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. She maintains a full teaching studio in the Chicago area and at the University of Chicago.
Lillian Lau holds Bachelor and Master of Music degrees, graduate assistantship, as well as the prestigious Performer's Certificate, from Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and a Professional Diploma in Orchestral Studies from the Chicago College of Performing Arts. Her principal teachers are Sarah Bullen and Distinguished Professor Susann McDonald.