Jury Bios

Marcela Mendez
Marcela Mendez

Marcela Mendez

Marcela Mendez is an Argentine harpist, pedagogue and writer who have developed a multifaceted career that makes her one of the leading harpists of her generation in her country. Dedicated to the study and rescue of music for harp by Argentine and Latin American composers, she has recorded five compact discs as a soloist. She has published numerous articles, five books and numerous scores for pedal harp.

She is the founder and director of the “Asociación Civil Amigos del Arpa”, an entity created in order to disseminate the instrument, promote young talents and provide training opportunities through the International Harp Academy that takes place annually in Santa Fe (Argentina). Since 2017 she is the Director of the harp class of SOIJAr (Fundación Sistema de Orquestas Infantiles y Juveniles de Argentina).   For the biennium 2021-2022 she was the Academic Director of SOIJAr.

In addition she has a Bachelor of Educational Management (Universidad Católica Argentina 2013). In 2020 she graduated from the Global Leaders Program – Harvard, MBA in Social Entreprise: Music and Social Change. In the educational field, she is a professor of Harp and Harp Repertoire, in the music career of the UADER (Universidad Autónoma de Entre Ríos) and founder of the harp chair at the 9901 School of Music in Santa Fe (Argentina).

She was for 30 years the Principal Harp of the Symphonic Orchestras of Entre Ríos and Santa Fe. She left those positions in 2021 to devote her time to teach, research and work for the Foundations she is engaged with.

She is the first Harp Suzuki teacher of Argentina. Since 2021 she is harp teaches at the Suzuki School of Paraná.



Doug Rioth, Photo Courtesy San Francisco Symphony
Doug Rioth, Photo Courtesy San Francisco Symphony

Doug Rioth

Douglas Rioth was born in 1953,  in Marceline, MO, and began the study of piano at age 6.   At age 15 he began the study of the harp at the Interlochen Center for the Arts in Interlochen, Michigan.  He graduated high school from the Interlochen Arts Academy with a dual major in harp and piano.  From 1971-75 he was  a harp major at the Cleveland Institute of Music, studying with Alice Chalifoux.  He continued his close association with Miss Chalifoux until her death in 2008.  Almost every summer he attended the Salzedo School in Camden Maine, where Miss Chalifoux taught during the summer months.

From 1975-1981 he was Principal Harpist of the Indianapolis Symphony.  In 1981 he was appointed Principal Harp of the San Francisco Symphony, a position he held for almost 41 years, retiring in January of 2022.  Rioth was Professor of Harp at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music from 2007-2022.  He was also the Harp Coach for the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra from its founding in 1981 until his retirement in 2022.

He now splits his time between Rancho Mirage, California and Carrollton, Missouri.  His partner, Kenneth Mikos, is a well known Deaf Educator, being the author of “Signing Naturally,” a widely used American Sign Language Curriculum series.

Ann Yeung
Ann Yeung

Ann Yeung

Known for her bold artistry and diverse repertoire, Ann Yeung is recognized as one of the leading teachers and harpists of her generation throughout the world. She has performed in festivals and judged competitions throughout Europe, Asia, and the Americas, and enjoys a multi-faceted creative career. She has won top international prizes (France, Japan) and numerous national harp solo competitions. “A dynamic performer with considerable flair” – Harp Column, her performances have been described as “splendid and cast a powerful spell” – New York Concert Review. She is a Past President of the American Harp Society, Inc., having overseen a transformative period, and formerly Editor (2002-2014) of the World Harp Congress Review, for which the World Harp Congress recognized her in 2014 for outstanding dedication and service.

Upcoming activities include the final article on Henriette Renié and her Concerto en ut mineur for the World Harp Congress Review.
Recent activities have included: serving on the jury for the 8th Hong Kong International Harp Competition; a presentation on Henriette Renié, “Recalling Agency for Modern Times” featuring research supported by an Arthur O. Beckman Research Award from Illinois at the 2022 World Harp Congress in Cardiff, Wales; the world premiere and presentation of kinna for shira banki by Richard Prior for the Aletheia Duo at the 2022 American Harp Society National Conference; an Aletheia Duo performance at the 2022 National Flute Association National Convention; the 2022 IV Festival de Cuerdas in Puerto Rico; and moderating the Composers Forum at the 2022 USA International Harp Competition. Other activities have included serving twice as a jury member (including Jury President) for the USA International Harp Competition, adjudicating the 7th USA International Harp Competition Ruth Inglefield Composition Contest, the Rave Harps International Prestige Awards 2022 in Singapore, the Dutch Harp Festival’s 2020 World Harp Competition Scouting Jury, and the 2023 American Harp Society National Competition Finals in Los Angeles.

She is the only person to simultaneously receive first prizes in the two highest divisions of the American Harp Society, Inc. (AHS) National Competition as well as the Prix Renié. As a winner of Artists International, she premiered her transcription of the Goldberg Variations at Carnegie Hall in 1999, the first known performance of the complete work on the harp. Dedicated to the expansion of the repertoire, she has premiered numerous compositions as a performer and as a conductor. She has made recordings for the Innova, Fons, Albany, and Cadenza labels including the critically acclaimed Voyage: American Works for Flute and Harp as part of the Aletheia Duo with Jonathan Keeble (“A spectacular pairing” – Harp Column; “achingly beautiful.” – American Record Guide), and Song of the Black Swan: Works Inspired by Nature (” … the sound is marvelous. It particularly suits the Debussy [Sonate]; this is my new favorite recording.” – American Record Guide).

She is the author of articles and reviews, which are published in the World Harp Congress Review, The American Harp Journal, Association International des Harpistes et Amis de la Harpe, United Kingdom Harpists Association, The American Liszt Society Newsletter, and American String Teacher. She is also a contributing author for the American String Teachers Association book, A Harp in the Schools: Guide for School Ensemble Directors and Harpists. She is considered an authority on the works and method of Henriette Renié. She has also given numerous presentations on Parish Alvars.

A sought-after teacher, she has given master classes at renowned institutions, including the Curtis Institute of Music, the Royal Academy of Music in London, and the Shanghai Conservatory, as well as lectures and presentations. Her students have won international and national first prizes, published significant editions and articles, founded innovative ensembles, lead some of the largest secondary school harp programs in the US, enact change through arts administration and leadership, achieved distinction in various fields, and have been appointed to faculty and principal orchestra positions worldwide. She is a recipient of the Campus 2014 Award for Excellence in Graduate and Professional Teaching.

Currently serving as Secretary and as a Member of the Corporation and Board of Directors of the World Harp Congress and on the USA International Harp Competition Board, she has received the 2015 College of Fine and Applied Arts Faculty Award for Excellence in Service in Illinois. She also is a 2013-2014 Fellow in the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (now Big Ten Academic Alliance) Academic Leadership Program. Currently Strings Area Chair, she has also served as Associate Director of Faculty Affairs in the Illinois School of Music.

Recognized for her exceptional ability to foster individual creativity and artistry in her students, Dr. Yeung notes that her goal is to provide an innovative and comprehensive education that will help her students reach their potential as creative artists in the 21st century. She is the Founder and Director of the Illinois Summer Harp Class (ISHC), that celebrated its 20th edition in 2023 with the world premiere of Meadowbrook by Julia Kay Jamieson. She is also Principal Harp of the Sinfonia da Camera. With flutist Jonathan Keeble, she has established the Aletheia Duo Entrepreneurship Series to prepare students for creative arts activities and advocacy in today’s world.