Esther Sévérac was born in Geneva and is currently based in Basel, Switzerland, working as a free-lance harpist with a repertoire reaching from classical solo concerts to jazz ensembles. She regularly collaborates with saxophone player Niko Seibold (duo harp and saxophone Harpkissax and jazz quartet Niko Seibold’s European Song) and flutist Anne-Lise Teruel (Duo Estival). She is also the co-founder of the music theater quartet Les Baronnes Underground (percussion, drumset, flute, harp) where she extends her capacities to singing, acting, arranging music and playing different instruments.
In these different ensembles she keeps experimenting with harp amplification and sound effects. Furthermore it gives her the opportunity to play in uncommon places for harpists such as Bird’s Eye Basel, Rössli Bern, Jazz Club Uster, Monkey Bar Basel, Boui Boui Festival Brenzikofen, Geneva Airport , Café Con Letras Basel, JazzCampus Basel, Giardini Incantati Poschiavo and many more.
Classical performances as a soloist include collaborations with the Basel Symphony Orchestra, I Medici Orchestra Basel and Sinfonietta Dachau. She also performs harp recitals with diverse and individual programs, mixing existing harp repertoire with improvisations and singing. She’s principal harpist of the Geneva Camerata since 2019 and performs regularly with professional orchestras (Sinfonieorchester Basel, Sinfonietta Basel, Kammerorchster Basel). She was principal harp in the Swiss Youth Symphony (SJSO) from 2010 to 2015.
She studied the harp at the Music Academy Basel with renowned harpist Prof. Sarah O’Brien and holds two master degrees in solo harp performance and music pedagogy. She participated in masterclasses with famous harpists such as Xavier De Maistre, Isabelle Moretti, Skaila Kanga, Emmanuel Ceysson, Jana Bouskova, Ursula Holliger or Susann McDonald. She also had the opportunity to take single lessons with pianist Lester Menezes at the Jazz Campus Basel and to play in classical/jazz crossover projects conducted by Guillermo Klein. She frequently takes jazz harp lessons with Park Stickney and is a multiple participant in his workshop « Jazz Harp Camp » near Yverdon/CH.
Being a very dedicated educator with a lot of experience, she teaches a number of private students in Basel in her own harp studio (www.harfenstudio.ch). Prior to her academic career as a harp student Esther earned a bachelor’s degree in multilingual communication from the University of Geneva.