Behind the Music
Merinda Christensen has performed as a solo, orchestra, and ensemble musician locally in Utah and in parts of Arizona and Oregon since 2007. She received her degree in harp performance from the University of Utah studying under Dr. Cathy Clayton. During her college career, she performed with the University of Utah and University of Arizona’s Wind Ensemble and Philharmonic as their principal harpist. Merinda has been performing with local orchestra, ensemble, and choir groups since she was 10 years old and enjoys every second she gets rehearsing and performing on stage with passionate musicians that enjoy sharing music just as much as she does. She recently had the opportunity to accompany the Salt Lake City Sterling Singers and the Wasatch Chorale and is currently the principal harpist for Skyward Symphony.
In addition to large ensembles, she has found many opportunities to perform with small ensembles. She was the president of the Harp Ensemble at the University of Utah from 2018-2022. Consisting of 7-12 performers, they played music of all different styles and genres, including classical, jazz, folk, and pop. During the 2018-2019 season, the Harp Ensemble toured to Portland, Oregon and performed both solo and ensemble concerts at Valley Catholic School.
Her solo performing career started at the age of 9, which has included performances at local city creative art concerts, church and religious meetings, local hospitals and senior living centers, as well as weddings, business and corporate events, and local and national harp festivals and competitions. A few of these include the Young Artists Competition, the American Harp Society National Competition, and the AHS Utah Chapter Harp Festival, where she has been awarded both Superior and Excellent recognitions. After performing at the AHS Harp Festival for many years, she has had the opportunity to return as a judge for the 2019 and 2022 festivals.
One of her most recent performances included joining music artist and YouTuber, Alex Boye’, as a harpist in his music video, “Still Breathing” as well as performing with HarpFusion alumni and Flutefinity members from the University of Arizona along with University of Utah Harp members at the National Flute Association Convention at Abravanel Hall in Salt Lake City, Utah during the summer of 2019. During a few Christmas seasons, she has enjoyed playing for the Governor of Utah’s Christmas Gala.
Throughout her music career, Merinda has focused on turning her talent into a way to bring people together. She is so grateful for the countless opportunities the harp has brought her. Merinda’s commitment to bringing students and her audience members into a space where they can feel inspired and uplifted is seen through each performance and personal interaction. Merinda started her own harp studio in 2016 where she has found a passion teaching beginning, intermediate, and advanced harp lessons to students of all ages and skill levels. As a teacher, she encourages and challenges her students’ abilities as musicians. She has found the importance music and art can bring to people and that passion led her to be a strong advocate for female artists as the Event Chair for a nonprofit organization in Salt Lake City called Women’s Artistic Initiative in 2021. She currently the Program Manager for The Blocks which is a visionary initiative of Salt Lake City and County to promote the abundance and vibrancy of the creative community amongst legacy and emerging arts and cultural organizations. She loves working with artists of all disciplines to help and support their own dreams and passions.
She is a recipient of the Christensen Music Scholarship and received the Creative Achievement Award in 2018 for her dedication and success to the arts from the University of Arizona. In addition, she became the University of Utah, College of Fine Arts Outstanding Senior for the School of Music in 2022 upon graduation.
Merinda is grateful for what opportunities and friendships the harp has brought her and she is proud to collaborate and perform with individuals and communities that work to keep the arts alive and thriving.