Obituary: Minnesota Orchestra harpist Joan Mainzer Kishkis, 88

Posted on: January 3, 2017

“It was love at first sight when, around the age of 9, Joan Mainzer Kishkis saw her first harp,” writes Josephine Marcotty in last Sunday’s (12/25) Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN). “The instrument became the focus of her life and her career, including 40 years as the principal harpist for the Minnesota Orchestra…. Kishkis died Dec. 15…. Kishkis attended Stephens College in Columbia, Mo., and then graduate school at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia…. Kishkis also became part of a harp quintet known as the Angelaires, who performed … on national television and even played alongside celebrities…. The exposure helped her land a job after graduate school as the principal harpist with the Houston Orchestra, where she met her husband of 12 years, Alfred Kishkis…. In 1953, she was wooed to the Twin Cities as principal harpist for the Minnesota Orchestra. She lived in Minnesota for the rest of her life, always playing under her maiden name, Joan Mainzer. She also played for the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and other leading ensembles around the country…. Kishkis retired from the orchestra in 1993. But she continued to live in downtown Minneapolis, within walking distance of Orchestra Hall.”

Posted January 3, 2017