Amber Carpenter

finalist photo
First Place
University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Amber Joy Carpenter, a native of Matthews NC, grew up surrounded by music. At the age of four, she decided to become a harpist when she saw a concert harpist performing with the Charlotte Symphony. She has been following that goal for the past 20 years – loving every moment! Features of her harp performance life have been: performing as the opening solo act for one of the Charlotte Philharmonic Orchestra's summer concerts, being a prizewinner in two regional concerto competitions, a winner of the Suzuki Association of the America's national harp competition, and a finalist in the International Lyon and Healy Awards Harp Competition. Ms. Carpenter has twice been a featured artist on WDAV Classical Radio's "Main Street Sessions" – a program that highlights regional musicians; she has performed with the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, and is also an active member of the Oratorio Singers of Charlotte.

In a recent interview with Meg Whalen of UNC Charlotte, Ms. Carpenter described her love behind her musical career: "My favorite performances reflect the fact that while I enjoy playing solo music, I especially enjoy being a part of an ensemble. I have found it immensely fulfilling working together with other enthusiastic musicians to produce music that is magnified in its beauty by our mutual passion and love for our art. I also love having a dual career – performing and teaching both harp and voice (specifically Children's Choir). I love working in an environment where there is a dedicated focus on bringing excellent music education to all children. I strongly believe that music is a gift from God that should not be denied to any student, especially as solid musical training can greatly enrich a person's life, whether they later follow music as a career path or not. My ultimate goal in life is to create music and share it with others so that it will enrich people's lives and honor the Lord in its beauty and excellence."

Currently, Ms. Carpenter serves as a teacher for the American Youth Harp Ensemble's European Summer Institute. The AYHE is an organization based out of Richmond, Virginia that offers private harp instruction as well as large ensemble classes to children of all ages and from all backgrounds. Including their outreach program to students in inner city schools, they currently are reaching over 300 students. For all students that are interested, they also provide renowned performance opportunities, such as performances at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, and the White House. While teaching at the school the past few summers, Ms. Carpenter accompanied her students on a tour of Austria and the Czech Republic, performing a weeklong concert series, and also to New York City for the ensemble's Lincoln Center debut.

Ms. Carpenter plays regularly in church worship, at the Levine Children's Hospital, and at the Stewart Health Center. She plays for numerous special events such as weddings, group functions, fundraisers, and private parties. She is also a choral conductor, specializing in children's music, and has a private music studio offering harp and voice lessons to both children and adults.