International Harp Archives

Lucile Lawrence Donation

Lucile Lawrence was born into an aristocratic New Orleans family on February 7, 1907. She was preceded by three generations of harpists, her own grandmother played for President Polk in the White House. As Lucile said, “I was taught that next to eating and sleeping, the most necessary thing in the world is the harp.” She started taking harp lessons at the age of six from Eliza Aymar. When she was eleven, she began to study with Carlos Salzedo in the summers and eventually three times a week. When Lucile was 18 she went on a world tour, playing 123 joint recitals that took her to remote areas such as Australia and New Zealand. When she returned, she organized the Lawrence Harp Quintet, taking it on tours. Lucile remained partners with Salzedo, joining with him in making harp method books such as Method for the Harp and The Pathfinder to the Harp. In 1928, when Lucile was twenty-one and Salzedo was forty-three, they were married, combining careers as well as maintaining separate careers. In 1930, they moved to Camden and founded the famous Salzedo Harp Colony. Lucile also taught at the Curtis Institute, Mannes School of Music, Manhattan School of Music, and Boston University. She founded the American Harp Society in 1962 and was the first president. Her marriage to Salzedo lasted eight years until they divorced in 1936, and two years later she married Paul Dahlstrom, an electrical engineer at Radio City. They had one son.

Adapted from: Dewey Owens. “In Memoriam: Lucile Lawrence”American Harp Journal 19 (Winter 2004): 34-35.