International Harp Archives

Stella Castellucci Donation

Stella was exposed to the world of music at a very young age due to her father who was a studio musician and bandmaster. Stella started taking harp lessons from Aida Dagort, Joseph Quintil, and Mary Jane Barton after she was about 13 years old. Her most serious and sustained harp studies began in 1945 when she began to study under Alfred Kastner. After graduating high school, Stella began to work as a harpist for the American Broadcasting Company Radio Orchestra. Later, in 1951 she began to do more freelancing and studio work. Stella was then invited to join a jazz group with Peggy Lee, and for years she toured with them for about three months out of the year. She stopped traveling with Peggy Lee in 1960 due to her large load of studio work, and began to work with Motown. She performed in many of the early Jackson 5 and Supremes recordings. In 1973 Stella collaborated with Verlye Mills on the book Rhythm for Harp, and in 1980 she began working on another book by herself, entitled An Approach to Jazz and Popular Music for Harp. It was published in 1983, and is still in print with Lyon and Healy and Vanderbilt.

Adapted from: Phillip D. Atteberry. “Stella Castellucci: A Life in Music” American Harp Journal 17 (Summer 2000).