Biography

Marissa Knaub Avon has an exciting career as a harp performer and teacher. Just this last season, she was a featured soloist performing Mozart's "Flute and Harp Concerto" with the Warren Philharmonic Orchestra and Debussy's "Danse sacree et danse profane" with Resonance Works. She also recently performed "The Fantasticks" with the Pittsburgh Public Theater. Her rich experience has given her the opportunity to perform with ensembles throughout the country.  At home she performs with the Pittsburgh Festival Opera, Resonance Works, Edgewood Symphony,  and the Chamber Orchestra of Pittsburgh to name a few. 


Marissa teaches harp to students in grades 6-12 at the Pittsburgh Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA) magnet school located in the Cultural District. She also maintains a private harp teaching studio and directs a Harp Camp. She also teaches harp at Mooncrest Neighborhood Programs, which is operated by the Felician Sisters of North America to revitalize the lives of the children in this Moon, PA community.


Marissa completed the Performance Studies program at the Cleveland Institute of Music with Yolanda Kondonassis. She holds a Master of Music degree from Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University where she studied with Jeanne Chalifoux.  She received her Bachelor of Music degree from Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA where her studies included jazz harp under the tutelage of Felice Pomeranz. She spent many summers at the Salzedo Harp Colony in Camden, ME studying with the legendary harp teacher, Alice Chalifoux. She began the harp at age ten with Lucy Scandrett.


Marissa was a special guest performer at the American Harp Society Conference in New York City. She was the principal harpist of the Firelands Symphony in Sandusky, Ohio. She held harp teaching positions with the Urban Youth Harp Ensemble in Atlanta, GA, at Toccoa Falls University, and Young Artists’ Harp Seminar. Marissa gave solo harp recitals for the Johns Hopkins University Alumni Association and performed with the Baltimore Symphony OrchestraLancaster Symphony, and other major surrounding area orchestras.  In Atlanta, she played with many ensembles and orchestras including the Macon Symphony Orchestra, Columbus Symphony Orchestra, New Atlanta Philharmonic Orchestra, and Ludwig Symphony Orchestra. Marissa won a resident artist fellowship at the Atlantic Music Festival.  She has also played with the Chamber Music International in London, England and with the Symphony Orchestra Academy of the Pacific in British Columbia.  Other notable experiences include performing as jazz harpist with Charlie Haden and Michael Brecker at Carnegie Hall in New York City as well as with Ray Charles in Washington D.C.  She also performed at The White House and toured Europe as principal harpist with the West Virginia Ovations Orchestra.