The beauty of the harp is in its sound,
The delicate resonance of the plucked string,
The absence of harmonic intrusion,
The purity of unhampered vibration.
It evokes, rustling leaves – gurgling streams,
Almost Heaven a solo harp al fresco!
– John Knight
The first step towards success is to listen to yourself. Imagine if you are able to do that as a child! In addition, music’s gifts abound around us, yet how many of us actually use it to make significant differences in ourselves?
She was all of seven, when she first experienced the soothing yet vibrant tones of the unique musical instrument, an experience that was to change her life. She calls it her love at first sight…with the celestial ‘Harp’. It must have been a magical moment when a seven-year-old Kateryna saw a lady harpist tuning a giant golden harp prior to an orchestra performance. The little child was so smitten by the melodious harp and the dazzling performance that she set her heart to learn to play the instrument. Although her parents tried diverting her attention towards the more popular violin and the guitar, destiny it seems had other plans. A harp teacher visited Kateryna’s school, advertising about lessons and the rest, as they say, is history.
To metamorphose into an intense, charismatic and a phenomenal performer requires grit, determination and many sacrifices. While the children of her age were busy exploring childhood, Kateryna’s childhood was spent exploring the harp at the music school. She would often be challenged with tougher notes to work on by her teacher. Insane practice hours and sore fingertips were not the only hurdles. The almost six feet high weighing 36 kg pedal harp she practiced on forced her to play the instrument on her feet, followed with the option to put cushions on a chair to raise her height at later stages. None of the challenges though, deterred this prodigy in her pursuit to excel.
Balancing her academics with her passion for music, she joined the Kiev Institute of Music R.M. Glier to pursue junior specialist and Bachelor’s music programme in orchestral string instruments. During her graduation, she became part of an all-girl Ukrainian band called ‘Symfomania’, which gave her a wider experience. Performing with the orchestra also gave her the opportunity to incorporate digital processors and effects to alter the sound of the Harp. She also composed several original pieces and gave solo performances amidst crowds of 10,000 people! Notable amongst her compositions for the ensemble are WASP-“The Idol”, Ozzy Osbourne- “I just want you”, John Petrucci-“Glasgow kiss” and Foo Fighters-“The pretender”.
With over 100 performances to her credit, now based in Dubai, Kateryna Oliinyk is an accomplished professional Rooming Harp player that leaves her audience spellbound with her creativity and slick techniques. After touring Europe, it was an opportune moment to play at the Ritz Carlton Hotel, Dubai Marina, in 2015 that brought her to the UAE. Soaked in the cultural diversity that Dubai offers and through her experience in Middle Eastern, Western and Asian music, she experiments with genres ranging from Classical, Pop, Rock, Bollywood, Arabic and more! “From classical compositions such as Mozart and Bach to Arabic music of Fairuz and the latest Bruno Mars songs I love performing a variety of tunes” says the harpist extraordinaire.
Her horizons have widened and so has her popularity. Having performed at various weddings and public events, the genius also conducts classes for children. During the day, one can find her rendering disarming musical depth on her harp at the Kempinski Hotel, Mall of the Emirates. With performances in prestigious events such as the Dubai culture project – “Year of Tolerance” – Women’s and Family conference – Abu Dhabi ‘AMWAY’ 2020, Ministry of health conference – Abu Dhabi, Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry ‘Heritage festival’ Abu Dhabi, among others, Kateryna combines historical integrity with electrifying virtuosity in each of her shows.
A challenging instrument to play that takes a toll on the harpist’s back and hands with an hour’s performance, Kateryna ensures to take breaks every 40 minutes. To stay in shape and energetic, a regular workout regime is an important part of her schedule. Her best moments apparently are the times when she gets flowers and thank you notes from strangers with messages that her music moved them to tears.