Vonda Darr performs as principal harpist on the North Carolina Symphony classical series. She began her musical journey by taking piano lessons from her mother at age four. By age six, she was ready for a second instrument and insisted on harp. She began her studies with Gladys Hubner in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and soon joined the Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies. She studied with Gretchen Van Hoesen in Pittsburgh while earning a degree in harp performance. As a college student, she had the opportunity to perform with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra alongside her teacher, with Michael Tilson Thomas as guest conductor—an experience that inspired her love of orchestral playing.
Vonda has been the principal harpist for the Symphony Orchestra Augusta in Georgia since 1993, and was principal harpist for the Augusta Opera for twelve years. She has been a soloist with the Symphony Orchestra Augusta, the Wilson Symphony Orchestra, the Lyra Vivace Chamber Orchestra, the Augusta Symphony String Quartet, the University of South Carolina Chamber Orchestra, and the Georgia Southern Symphony. She has previously been acting principal harpist for the South Carolina Philharmonic and the Greenville Symphony Orchestra in South Carolina.
Vonda is also an active chamber and solo recitalist. She has performed on the North Carolina Symphony’s Manning Chamber Series and is a frequent guest artist with Chamber Music Charleston. Mrs. Darr has presented concerts for the Piccolo Spoleto Festival and for the American Harp Society National Conference. She is a founding member of the Lyra Vivace Chamber Orchestra, and performs as Duo Venandi with flutist Wendy Cohen.
Vonda has recorded two solo harp CD’s, Prayers Without Words and Hear the Angels: A Christmas Collection. Duo Venandi’s debut CD Fantasie was released in January 2017, and has been featured on South Carolina Public Radio and Georgia Public Radio.
Vonda lives in Wilson, North Carolina, with her husband and two daughters. She is an avid tennis player and has been a CPA since 1994.