Kari Gardner is a talented professional harpist who performs primarily in the greater Chicago, IL and Milwaukee, WI areas. Her amazingly extensive repertoire includes a broad range of styles, for example: classical (from Medieval and Renaissance to French Romantic and Contemporary), Celtic, Christian, Jewish, Chinese, Broadway, and popular (from the Phantom of the Opera to Enya, and from Sinatra to Metallica). She has had the pleasure of arranging music for the harp specifically to suit her client's requests. Some examples include Indian Bollywood movie music, 80's metal, current R&B hits, and Romanian hymns. For December events she can perform a mix of Christmas, Hanukkah, and secular seasonal music in order to be inclusive of all of your attendees, or narrow her repertoire to one category to suit your specific tastes.
Background: Kari began studying music at the age of 2 1/2, starting with violin. By the age of 11 she was also taking harp and piano lessons. She went on to complete both a Bachelor's and Master's degree in harp performance from Northwestern University, where she studied under Elizabeth Cifani, Lyric Opera principal harpist. Other teachers include Minnesota Orchestra Principal Harpists Joan Mainzer (retired) and Kathy Kienzle (current).
Experience: Kari has been freelancing part-time since she was in highschool and full time since obtained her Master's degree in 1996. She has performed as principal harpist for many orchestras, composes and arranges music for harp and various folk harps, and held steady background music gigs. Her longest running background music engagement was as a Sunday brunch harpist at a hotel in Deerfield, IL--every Sunday for six years as well as major holidays. In her work as a musician for weddings she has played for many types of ceremonies, including Christian, Jewish, Islam, Hindi, Zoastrian, multiple faith, non-religious, and various themed weddings. Wedding size has ranged from just the bride and groom, the minister, and Kari (she was even asked to sign as a witness!) to hundreds of people. She has the experience and professionalism necessary to make her part of your event smooth and worry-free.
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Recommended by 100% of couples
Raven · Married on 06/12/2014
Kari was PHENOMENAL! My husband REALLY wanted a harpist for our ceremony - once we found Kari, we were sold! She was very easy to get in contact with and was very prompt and responsive to questions. She had a variety of songs on her repertoire list to choose from! We were able to incorporate a wide range of songs for our ceremony, from Star Wars to Rock to R&B. Our sit in consultation at her home went very well. We were just in awe at how talented she was on the harp. The ceremony was BEAUTIFUL, we received so many compliments - I would honestly say that Kari helped to make our wedding ceremony one to truly remember!
Carolyn · Married on 11/23/2013
Kari's music was beautiful and we got so many compliments from our guests about how they enjoyed her performance. She has a wide variety of music to choose from and was very fair and flexible with pricing.
Devon · Married on 10/19/2013
Kari was AWESOME!! As a busy bride, I didn't have much time to meet with all of our vendors. Instead, Kari offered that we have telephone consultation, during which we went over song selections. She even went so far as to play some of them over the phone so that I could have a better idea of how R&B songs would sound on the harp. BEAUTIFUL! On our wedding day, she was very professional and polite, and all of our guests have been raving about her! (It's almost 2 months later, and people are still talking about her!) During our exchange of vows and rings, she played softly, and I swear it made the ceremony ethereal. Kari is an exceptional harpist with the perfect blend of class and elegance. I HIGHLY recommend her to anyone, and I can't wait for our next event to request her services again!