Through her depth of expression as an internationally recognized harp soloist, actor, writer, and teacher, Rita Costanzi, in the words of Irish author Treasa O’Driscoll, “bears the mark of the true artist whose task it is to rise above the tumult of the times. A force of truth and love in herself and a musician of exceptional accomplishment, her playing never fails to touch the souls of listeners in deep and unexpected ways.”
Winner of The 2020 Hershey Felder Presents Arts Prize Competition, Costanzi’s short documentary film Moonlight in the Bronx captivated viewers around the world with its moving, powerful, and timely memorial to Ludwig van Beethoven and the victims of COVID-19. Heralded as “A Hymn to New York,” it conveys, with profundity and grace, a vital message for our times in its portrayal of Beethoven’s isolation through deafness, the world’s through COVID-19, and her own through divorce. Costanzi wrote, directed, and performed her original script, reflecting yet again her “warmth, conviction and exquisite virtuosity.”
The 2021 Sunflower Festival in Topeka KS hosted the stunning world premiere of Costanzi’s theater piece Woman On A Ledge by acclaimed pianist/actor/producer/director Hershey Felder, with the support of a grant from The National Endowment for the Arts. Bringing her life story to the stage in this groundbreaking, powerful hybrid of solo harp music and theatrical performance, Woman On A Ledge expresses the female musician’s fraught and complex life experience with its conflicts, devotion, love, and loss.
An artist of immense gifts
Since relocating to New York City in 2007, Costanzi has collaborated with director Arthur Masella — long-time associate of Hal Prince — on an award winning one-woman show which was featured at The United Solo Theater Festival in New York City, The Ottawa International Festival, and at The World Harp Congress in Sydney. An acclaimed international soloist and teacher, Costanzi has performed and given master classes in North and South America, Europe, and Canada. In 2022, she recorded Michael Kurek’s Serenade for Cello and Harp for release on PARMA Recordings’ Navona Records label, and completed a second album with PARMA featuring renowned oboist, Alex Klein, entitled AMOROSO, that was released in January 2023.
Costanzi’s training began at an early age under the guidance of her father, the noted violist Francis Tursi, and harpist Eileen Malone. After graduating from the Eastman School of Music with Highest Distinction and the Performer’s Certificate, she furthered her studies with Bernard Zighera, Marcel Grandjany, and in France on an ITT International Fellowship with Jacqueline Borot. She was twice winner of the American Harp Society’s National Competition and recipient of the Lily Laskine Award for the most outstanding solo harp recital.
Awards & Honors
Winner of the 2020 Hershey Felder Presents Arts Prize Competition
2-time winner of the American Harp Society’s National Competition
Lily Laskine Award winner for most outstanding solo harp recital
Winner of the United Solo “Best Concert” Award, 2011
A Memoir of a Harpist comprised of 47 Vignettes – one for each string of her concert grand harp – details the life of Rita Costanzi: daughter of a noted violist, international harp soloist, actor, writer, teacher, composer, wife, mother, grandmother and divorcee.
Both poignant and humorous, they reflect personal life stories of her dramatic Love Affair and the inner conflicts of being a Woman, Artist, Wife and Mother. Her harp brings her to extraordinary and moving encounters playing for the ill, elderly, dying and special needs children…to concert halls, schools, private homes and churches, world wide.