Anneleen Lenaerts plucks her harp outside of the Vienna State Opera, inspiring a few pedestrians to stop, watch and even snap photos. It’s not typical for the Principal Harpist of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra to play on the street. If she put down a hat, she’d probably amass a fortune. In a city that was once home to Beethoven, Mozart and Haydn, classical musicians are bona fide celebrities. “Vienna is one of the best places you can be in the world for classical music. There is such a tradition. People who live here really support it,” says Lenaerts. “I love how proud they are of everything they have here, from the Sachertorte to the wiener schnitzel. The opera house has over 1,800 seats and it sells out almost every single night. It’s amazing.”
Growing up in Belgium, Lenaerts never imagined she’d end up in Austria’s capital. But when the opportunity came up to join one of the world’s most renowned orchestras, she packed her bags in a heartbeat. It’s the kind of break a harpist waits and works decades for. At age 30, she’s among the generation ushering the orchestra into a new era. Lenaerts began playing the harp at age nine, shortly after learning the piano alongside her older siblings. Eventually, she went on to study at the conservatories of Brussels and Paris in 2008 and gained her harp Master’s degree with highest distinction. As a soloist, she’s performed with the Symphony Orchestra of Bavarian Radio, the Philadelphia Chamber Orchestra, the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Brussels Philharmonic and the National Orchestra of Belgium, among others.
Here & There Magazine's final issue of volume two takes you to the musical city of Vienna.