Today we’d like to introduce you to Elizabeth LeBlanc.
Hi Elizabeth, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today.
My musical journey began at six years of age behind the piano. I took up harp at 9 and never looked back! After several years of instruction, I attended Interlochen Arts Academy with a focus in harp studies. I performed with fabulous musicians from around the world. In 2006 I received my Bachelor’s in harp performance from Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri. That same summer, I drove over 1000 miles to Orlando, Florida. Three months later, I auditioned for and won the only full-time harp position at Walt Disney World in Orlando, playing for the highly awarded Victoria and Albert’s restaurant at the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa just outside Magic Kingdom. I would hold that position for nearly 14 years before the pandemic shut down all of Disney. July 2022, the restaurant reopened, and I was fortunate to resume my full-time position.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back, would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
In many ways, I consider myself to be one of the lucky few to have landed a full-time job as a musician doing what I love to do and know how to do. Because of this position, I was able to take extra gigs along the way that had me performing from New York City to San Diego. I was devastated when my job went away at the start of the pandemic. However, we celebrated a big change, we gave birth to a beautiful baby boy! Our son was conceived through IVF, and the biggest silver lining was being able to spend the first 16 months of his life working from home. During this time, I increased my teaching studio and took every gig that came my way, driving anywhere from Tampa, to Vero, to Amelia Island.
My mother would give me a piece of advice that would prove itself time and time again throughout my career, “It’s not always what you know, but who you know.” While what you know is important, building a community and networking will open more doors than not.
Thanks – so, what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I remember some advice that I received from my harp teacher at Webster University, Ayako Watanabe. She said, “Show up to the first rehearsal as if you’ve already played the gig.” In short, spend as much time as you can practicing and learning the music, knowing it inside and out. As musicians, we spend thousands of hours inside four tiny walls diving deep into the notes on the page. What the public sees is the tip of the iceberg and, hopefully, a polished and beautiful performance. The dedication, preparation, and respect for my art form has given me opportunities to perform for incredible events with fabulous musicians. I am a harp performer, educator, arranger, composer, and recording artist. But what I hope I’m known most for is bringing joy to those who listen to my music and encouragement to those who want to learn how to play.
Any big plans?
There are two things that I’m constantly working on: increasing my arranged repertoire which I sell, and recording more solo harp albums. I would absolutely love to collaborate with musicians on future albums and dive into more of my own compositions.
In the end, Louis Pasteur said it best. Chance favors the prepared. I may not know what the future holds, but I will continue my daily practice so that I am prepared for any opportunity that comes my way.
- Website: ElizabethLouiseHarpist.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/harpistelizabethlouise/?hl=en
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/c/ElizabethLouise