Nathania Ko is a harpist, Konghou performer, and composer based in Vancouver, Canada. She received her Master’s of Music degree in Orchestral Performance (Harp) from the University of British Columbia in 2020, and in 2018, she received her Bachelor’s of Music degree in Konghou Performance from the Shenyang Conservatory of Music. She is a passionate advocate for her instrument, raising awareness of the Konghou both in her home country of Canada and abroad. Nathania was a member of the 13th World Harp Congress hosting committee in Hong Kong. During this event, she hosted for the second half of its opening ceremony and was one of four finalists in the Congress’ Creative Media Competition. She has presented her Konghou-related research in scholarly conferences such as the Canadian University Music Society and has hosted masterclasses around the globe.
Music Unearthed from the Silk Road
The Konghou was extinct for 400 years until its revival in 1984, when remains of this instrument were excavated from tombs along the Silk Road. It is known as the Chinese harp and can be considered a sister instrument of the Western pedal harp. I am excited about the prospect of presenting a performance that merges ancient and contemporary melodies that represent music from countries connected by the Silk Road. This is reflected in the Konghou’s ability to mimic instruments and sounds of various cultures (such as maqams from the Middle East and China’s Peking opera). To assist me with this performance, I have assembled an ensemble of Indian tabla, cello, and flute to create an immersive and multicultural experience. The intertwining conversations of the Eastern and Western pieces on my program are capable not only of “unearthing” ancient tunes, but of recontextualizing them through our contemporary voices as well.