Victoria Drake

Victoria Drake


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Victoria Drake

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

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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.”


When I first heard harpist Victoria Drake some seven or eight years ago, I remarked that ‘her playing told the whole story.’ As much as I’ve admired her work ever since, I realized with some force on Saturday evening how really great a musician and instrumentalist she is. There was a stirring, buoyant vibrancy to her playing, which added a special focus to the work; sure and highly musical, she was a delight to hear.”
— Joel Hupper • Greenwich (CT) News

“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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The suites sound ravishing on the harp; the lingering resonance of the vibrating strings fills in the harmonies that are implied in the linear cello part, and adds an appealing richness. Drake has a broad expressive range and can play with gossamer delicacy or rhythmic vigor, according to the character of each movement. She has terrific technique and handles even the most rigorous demands with grace and assurance. Her playing is supple and flexible, with just enough fluidity, avoiding both rigidity and Romantic excess. The sound has a nice balance of brightness and warmth, with a good sense of presence.
— Stephen Eddins,

2 CD set audio recording

From the Bach Notebook

the complete cello suites BWV 1007-1012 transcribed

The suites are a revelation on the concert harp...a fascinating interpretation of one of music’s great masterpieces. Excellent sonics, with or without a HDCD decoder.
— John Sunier,  Audiophile Audition

Bach Suites Sheet Music

All 6 of the Bach Cello Suites transcriptions for harp are available in 2 volumes from Gotham Harp Publishing. Click on image for purchase information.

More Solo Recordings

Spanish Gold

Transcriptions of piano and guitar works of Albéniz, Chavarri, Falla, Guridi, Granados, Mompou, Mudarra, Ponce, Rodrigo, Tárrega and Turina.

Harpist Victoria Drake has plenty of passion – the sheer sensuality of plucking the strings with one’s fingers ensures that. But Drake also responds to Scarlatti the same way I do. For instance, she exults in the rhythmic drive of K 201 and the famous K 159. In the slow sonatas (K 87, 466, and 207 above all), she has a vocal expressiveness impossible to achieve on the harpsichord but absolutely perfect for this music.
— Robert Haskins, American Record Guide
Transcriptions of Scarlatti’s plentiful keyboard sonatas are very effective on the harp, much more so than on the lute or guitar. It seems odd that the CD era has not produced such a collection before. Victoria Drake gives enchanting, wholly unaffected readings in her timely set. The included works range from the familiar – the catchy Sonata in C Major, K.159, which every piano student knows – to the rare – the ethereal Sonata in A Major, K. 451. It would be unfair to the artist or the repertoire to relegate this disc to background music, but the combination of Scarlatti’s engaging invention and the dulcet sound of the harp is undeniably soothing. The sonics are warm and intimate. Even alongside “authentic” renderings and the interpretive efforts of more famous performers, Drake’s recording is one of the most pleasing Scarlatti recitals of late.
— Anthony Gary Campbell, H&B Recordings Direct
Scarlatti on the harp is almost as logical as Scarlatti on the piano – “almost” because I miss the percussive/rhythmic element provided by both harpsichord and piano. The harp makes the music more gentle, more genteel, and less quirky than it really should be. But there is a lot of art and technique on display here; the mostly well-known sonatas emerge gracefully from Victoria Drake’s skillful hands and fingers.

Scarlatti’s Harp

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

Scarlatti is a somewhat obscure contemporary of Bach and Handel who deserves wider recognition. Sonatas were composed as especially intimate music, and played here on the harp, they are superb. The sound of the harp seems to me as gentle as a lover’s whisper, making it a perfect instrument to convey the emotional nuances of the compositions. Fans of harp music and/or baroque music will snap this one up. Play it in your store to win over the uninitiated, without fail
What makes the all-Scarlatti album by New York-based harpist Victoria Drake so very attractive is the beautifully nuanced playing one hears, with notes in sequence always having shape and phrases making perfect musical sense. Her clearly defined rhythmic sense is excellent, and seldom is there an undue vestige of romanticism. Furthermore, almost all these arranged selections, including some fairly virtuosic examples, seem singularly well-suited to the harp, which also is warmly and naturally recorded without ever being over-reverberant.
— Igor Kipnis, Stereophile

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

Concerto Recordings

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

Movie Soundtracks


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.