Kari Gardner, harpist

Grayslake, IL

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About this pro

Kari is a professional wedding and event musician (harpist) serving Chicago, IL to Milwaukee, WI. Events include ceremonies, receptions, rehearsal dinners, showers, private parties, corporate parties, and holiday events.

Kari's extensive and informative website includes her amazing repertoire list (classical music, Celtic, Christian, Jewish, Chinese, Broadway, pop and rock--from the Phantom of the Opera to Enya, and from Sinatra to Metallica), audio samples, helpful information, and testimonials such as this one:

"Kari Gardner was a wonderful addition to a fiftieth birthday celebration. Her musical selections were eclectic and a refreshing mix of classical and contemporary, reflecting favorite music. The room was filled with the sound of her strings in the background, present but never overbearing. Conversations were held at comfortable tones as her music accompanied and enhanced thought, laughter and memories."

Kari began studying music at the age of 2 1/2, starting with violin. By the age of 11, she was also taking harp and piano lessons. She went on to complete both a Bachelor's and Master's degree in harp performance from Northwestern University, where she studied under Elizabeth Cifani, Lyric Opera principal harpist. Other teachers include now retired Minnesota Orchestra Principal Harpists Joan Mainzer and Kathy Kienzle.


Grayslake, IL 60030


What advice would you give a customer looking to hire a provider in your area of work?
Why choose a harpist for your event, party, or wedding? The harp is a perfect solo instrument, producing rich, full music. You don't need to hire two musicians or 20 to have great music. Yes, you can pair the harp up with other instruments if you wish, but you don't have to. The vast majority of the weddings and events for which I have played in the last 18 years were as a solo artist. The harp is beautiful, elegant, and classy. The harp evokes images of richness and elegance. It is not commonplace, it looks unusual and expensive. Only you will know that hiring a harpist actually saved you money over hiring multiple musicians or a DJ. Harp music is capable of filling a room without overpowering your guests' conversations. The sound of the harp carries throughout rooms as if floating, yet it doesn't make it hard for guests to converse. I also bring a small amplifier or can plug into venue sound systems for large events to make sure the coverage of the music is full but not overwhelming. Harp music is not just one type of music or mood. The sound of the harp will always be elegant and beautiful, but the music you choose will set the tone and mood of your event. Do you want traditional? Do you want to infuse a subtle sense of humor? I've played everything from "Here Comes the Bride" to Metallica's "Nothing Else Matters" as a wedding processional. Even with the most interesting music choices, your guests will hear beautiful music. And you and your friends will recognize the song and smile.