A Pittsburgh native, Isabel Cardenes, age 17, has been immersed in music for her entire life, taking in the sounds of the Pittsburgh Symphony and traveling with her parents to concerts and festivals throughout the U.S. and Europe. Having made her piano debut performing a Mozart concerto in Germany at age nine, she discovered her love for the harp a year later and has been thriving in the studio of PSO Principal Harp, Gretchen Van Hoesen. Isabel has been a member of the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony since 2017. In May, 2019 Isabel won first prize in Pittsburgh’s Lois Streator/Smith Competition and in June traveled to North Carolina to compete in the finals of the American Harp Society national competition, winning third prize. She has received scholarships to attend Interlochen Arts Camp in 2018 and 2019, and is a recipient of the Arts Recognition Scholarship from Oakland Catholic High School. With a strong interest in music for healing, Isabel performs frequently for patients at the Hillman Cancer Center. She and her mother, Monique Mead, have also developed “Music in the Moment,” an integrated program of music, movement, and mindfulness. She was recently chosen as a finalist to be featured on the NPR Show From the Top.

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