A New York based freelance harpist, Victoria has a wide-ranging career that spans from Broadway to the film stage to Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall.
Victoria has numerous chamber and orchestral recordings and has extensive experience in the world of contemporary music. She has also done some work in the period instrument genre.
She has received acclamation for her performances and recordings of her transcriptions of the Bach Cello Suites.
A video introduction to a recording of the complete Bach Cello Suites transcribed and performed by harpist Victoria Drake. The video was filmed and recorded at Skywalker Sound in Marin County, California. Producer: Kathy Geisler Film editor: Terry Schwartz Director: Todd Darling Visual effects: Ben Stokes Recording engineer: Leslie Ann Jones Music editor: Marc Senasac Audio post: Dave Nelson
Clip from performance of Bach Cello Suite No. 2 at the 13th World Harp Congress in Hong Kong
Harpist Adds Beauty to Bach Cello Suites
“Bach’s Cello Suites can change character drastically, depending on which character takes up the bow. They change even more drastically when they change instruments. Chords that are implicit on cello become explicit on the harp, which is to say that long, spinning tunes become rolling harmonies. What is spare and tragic on the cello becomes lush and delirious on the harp. Partisans of tragedy and cello might argue that the harp perverts the lofty message of this music, that the harp makes it too beautiful. But there’s no arguing with the beauty heard Monday night. To my ear, Drake revealed an unexpected facet of a multifaceted piece of music.”
— TOM STRINI • MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL
“Victoria Drake, from the U.S., presented a seasoned professional performance, using her understanding of textural and dynamic values to achieve effective structural contrasts. Her repertoire, limited to three choices (Hovhaness Sonata; Mozart Sonata in F, K. 322; and Renie Legende), aimed at in-depth treatment rather than breadth of focus.”
– Max Stern • The Jerusalem Post
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2 CD set audio recording
From the Bach Notebook
the complete cello suites BWV 1007-1012 transcribed
More Solo Recordings
Transcriptions of piano and guitar works of Albéniz, Chavarri, Falla, Guridi, Granados, Mompou, Mudarra, Ponce, Rodrigo, Tárrega and Turina.
16 Keyboard Sonatas of Domenico Scarlatti
Sonata in G Major, K. 201
Sonata in C Major, K. 461
Sonata in D Minor, K. 9
Sonata in D Minor, K. 10
Sonata in B Minor, K. 87
Sonata in E Major, K. 531
Sonata in A Major, K. 208
Sonata in A Major, K. 212
Sonata in A Minor, K. 451
Sonata in E Major, K. 135
Sonata in G Minor, K. 476
Sonata in F Minor, K. 466
Sonata in F Major, K. 468
Sonata in C Major, K. 159
Sonata in D Minor, K. 213
Sonata in B-Flat Major, K. 545
Harping On Bach
Keyboard works of Johann Sebastian Bach transcribed and performed by Victoria Drake.
Partita No.1 in B-flat Major, BWV 825
Lute Suite No. 3 in A minor, BWV 995
French Suite No. 4 in E-flat Major, BWV 815
Mozart: Concerto for Flute and Harp, K.299
Sandra Miller, flute & Victoria Drake, harp
The American Classical Orchestra on period instruments; Thomas Crawford, conductor
Frank Martin: Petite Symphonie Concertante
Anthony Newman, harpsichord & Victoria Drake, harp
Philharmonia Virtuosi; Richard Kapp, conductor
Chamber music, Orchestral & Opera Recordings
Broadway Cast Recordings
Victoria Drake, harpist, is a multi-faceted artist with a career that stretches the boundaries of music for the harp. Originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, she has built her career as a freelance musician in New York City. She has performed as concerto soloist with over a dozen notable orchestras in the New York area, many with repeat appearances, including the American Classical Orchestra, the Greenwich Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia Virtuosi, the Concordia Orchestra, the Westfield Symphony, the Connecticut Orchestra at Harkness, and at the Vermont Mozart Festival. As recital soloist, she has appeared in series across the country, as well as in Israel, France, Australia and Hong Kong.
She performs in several New York orchestras, including the American Symphony Orchestra, New York City Ballet, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, American Ballet Theatre, and plays regularly with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra in Minnesota. She has worked with Orpheus, the New York City Opera, the Brooklyn Philharmonic, and the New York Philharmonic. She spends most summers at the Bard Music Festival and has performed at the Aspen, Banff, Cabrillo, Caramoor, Fontainebleau, Waterloo, Cape May, and Vermont Mozart Festivals. She has played with Summer Music in Connecticut, the Berkshire Opera Company and was featured soloist at L’Association des Rencontres Culturelles d’Orbec in France. She performed and recorded Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnbergwith the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Sir Georg Solti.
Victoria has recorded chamber music for the ESS.A.Y, CRI, Spectrum, Well-Tempered, Arabesque, MSR Classics and Koch International labels. Recent performances and recordings in contemporary chamber music include works of Kaija Saariaho, Benet Casablancas, Rachel Laurin, Matthias Pintscher, Osvaldo Golijov, Susan Botti, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Lowell Liebermann, Michael Kamen, Harvey Burgett, Michael Cohen, Laurence Rosenthal, Jeffrey Mumford, Bun-Ching Lam, Zhou Long, and Chou Wen-Chung. Ms. Drake’s interest in expanding the harp repertoire has led to four solo recordings: Harping on Bach (keyboard and lute works of J.S. Bach); the critically acclaimed Scarlatti’s Harp (keyboard works of Domenico Scarlatti); Spanish Gold (harp works and piano and guitar transcriptions of Spanish composers); and her latest recording: From the Bach Notebook of harpist Victoria Drake: the complete cello suites BWV 1007-1012 transcribed. She has recorded Frank Martin’s Petite Symphonie Concertante with Anthony Newman and Philharmonia Virtuosi, and the Mozart Concerto for Flute and Harp on period instruments with Sandra Miller and the American Classical Orchestra.
Victoria has performed and recorded for many artists such as Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga, Victoria Clark, Audra McDonald, Dawn Upshaw, Kathleen Battle, Dave Brubeck, Branford Marsalis, Luther Vandross and Aretha Franklin, and has toured Japan and Korea with the New York Pops Orchestra. She played in the orchestra for the Tony-winning Broadway show The Light in the Piazza at Lincoln Center and was also in the Tony Award-winning revivals of 42nd Street and The King and I. She can be heard on many film soundtracks and commercial jingles.
Victoria’s edition of the Bach Six Cello Suites has recently been published by Gotham Harp Press. She performed some of her editions at the American Harp Society 50th Anniversary Harp Conference in New York City, as well as both the 12th and 13th World Harp Congresses in Sydney, Australia and Hong Kong.