Marianne Smit // Harp

"Their performance was of impressive perfection, the result of endless finetuning under the watchfull eye of the composer."
- NRC, on the premiere of Freude ('Joy') by Karlheinz Stockhausen in the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam

Dear International guest,

// Nice to meet you!

My name is Marianne Smit (1984). I am a professional Dutch harpist. I regularly give concerts as a soloist, play in various ensembles and have worked for years in productions of the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra (RFO), the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (KCO) and other orchestras.

Internationally, I am known for being the original interpreter of Karlheinz Stockhausen's 'Freude für Zwei Harfen', also known as 'Joy' (see further details below).

If you have an international opportunity for me, please do not hesitate to contact me via the contact form below!



// Study

I play the harp since 1995. I got my first harp lessons from my mother Gertru Pasveer. After one year I became a student of Anke Anderson. In 1998, I started at the Amsterdam Conservatorium in the Young-Talent department, as a student of Erika Waardenburg. In September 2009 I graduated ‘cum laude’ with an honour for “special artisticity in the field of contemporary music”.

World Premiere of Freude
in the Concertgebouw of Amsterdam, 2007

Marianne Smit and Esther Kooi in consultation with Karlheinz Stockhausen
ahead of the world premiere in Milan (2006)


In 2005, Karlheinz Stockhausen (1928 - 2007) wrote the work "Freude für Zwei Harfen", also known as "Joy".

Freude is a 40-minute work that combines two diatonic harps into one chromatic instrument. Originally Stockhausen wrote the work for my fellow student Esther Kooi and I. We lived together at the time (2005) and were therefore able to spend a lot of time to meet Stockhausen's high standards. Every week a package of four pages of music fell on the doormat and we had to judge whether it was playable. After more than half a year of studying, both at home and with Stockhausen, we were ready for the premiere in the Milan Cathedral (2006). We subsequently performed the work in, among others, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam (2007) and the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London (2008).

Nowadays, I perform Freude with Miriam Overlach.

What others say:

"Two harpists play and sing words from a medieval hymn in what is one of the most striking and beautiful of Stockhausen’s late creations."
// London Southbank Center, 2008

“A work of beauty and intricacy, characterised by melodic fluidity and textural variety combined with a deeply resonant harmonic language.”
// Sound And Music (SAM) INTO Magazine, July/August Edition 2010

“Harpists Marianne Smit and Esther Kooi were simply astounding, playing and singing this 45-minute epic with great poise and beauty of sound. This has shown that the alleged loopiness and musical poverty of Stockhausen's final years is a myth.”
// London Telegraph, 2008

“The musicians were technically brilliant and totally at one with the seemingly intuitive but fascinating musical journey: indeed they seemed to embody the music within the performance and themselves.”
//, 2008

Listen to an audio-sample of Freude here:

More audio-samples? >> Click here

// Achievements


Princess Christina Competition // First Prize 1998 & 2002
SJMN Music Talent Competition // First Prize 1998, 2002 & 2004
Dutch National Harp Competition // Finalist 2000
Soloist with the Netherlands Youth String Orchestra // St. Petersburg, 2003
Freude (Joy) - Stockhausen // World Premiere Milan 2006, Concertgebouw Amsterdam 2007, Queen Elizabeth Hall London, 2008
RPS Music Award (UK) // Nominated "Best Performance 2008"
Conservatorium van Amsterdam // Graduation award for "special artistry in the field of contemporary music", 2009


// Contact