About Sylvia



professional harp player

Sylvia McClain is a professional harpist with many years of experience. She possesses a broad musical repertoire and has played in every capacity including political functions at the U.S. Capitol, State Department, and various embassies. She was a Featured Soloist with the Loudoun Symphony in December 2005 performing the “Danses- Sacree et Profane” by Claude Debussy.


A student of Alice Chalifoux, Jeanne Chalifoux and Marjorie Tyre, Sylvia spent several summers at the Salzedo School in Camden, Maine. She attended the Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena, Italy, the National Music Camp at Interlochen, Michigan, and performed under the direction of Pierre Boulez at the Blossom Festival School of the Cleveland Orchestra. She resumed study with Alice Chalifoux (successor to Carlos Salzedo) for seven years after Miss Chalifoux relocated to Round Hill, Virginia. Sylvia graduated cum laude from Birmingham-Southern College with a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Music Degree in Harp.


Following her graduation, Sylvia won awards and honors in the "Young Artist Auditions" of the Musicians' Club of New York, and the National Competition of the American Harp Society.


Throughout her career, Sylvia has played with the Atlanta Symphony, Birmingham Symphony, District of Columbia Community Orchestra, and the Loudoun Symphony, from which she recently retired after playing for 12 years as the principal harpist. She has performed numerous times on the Connoisseur Concerts (chamber music) of the Loudoun Symphony. Over her career she has performed with several of the area's prominent choral directors, including Norman Scribner, J. Reilly Lewis and Robert Shafer. Sylvia formed the flute/harp duo “Les Aperitifs” with flutist, Cathy Gilstrap, and they performed for many events in the Loudoun County area.


Sylvia is on the faculty at the Community Music School of the Piedmont in Upperville, VA, and also maintains a private studio in Lovettsville, VA.