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PCMF Insights:
Charles Overton Artist Talk

Wednesday, August 9 | 5:00 PM

Portland Conservatory of Music, 28 Neal St | Portland


Join us for this free event to hear how PCMF Resident Artist Charles Overton approaches improvising on the harp, and how his classical and jazz backgrounds have helped inform his musical voice. This moderated talk will include live demonstrations, with time at the end for an audience Q&A.


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Meet Charles

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Charles Overton

Equally at home in an orchestra or in a jazz club, it is the goal of Boston-based harpist Charles Overton regardless of the genre of music, to create a musical environment that is accessible, exciting and can resonate deeply with any audience. He began his harp studies at the age of ten under the direction of Lynelle Ediger, where as a member of her "American Youth Harp Ensemble'' he was afforded the opportunity at an early age to perform internationally in notable venues such  as the Salle Gaveaux in Paris and Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall. In 2009 Charles went on to attend the Interlochen Arts Academy to further his musical development and studied with Joan Raeburn Holland. During his matriculation at Interlochen Charles fine tuned his performance and competition skills. Of note during this time Charles was a prizewinner in the Young Artist Harp Competition as well as placing twice as a finalist for the Interlochen Arts Academy Concerto Competition. 

Originally from Richmond, VA Charles moved to Boston in 2012 to attend the Berklee College  of Music where he was the first harpist to be accepted to Berklee’s Global Jazz Institute - a prestigious and highly specialized  program at the school in which students are able to study and work intimately with master jazz artists such as Danilo Perez, John Patitucci, Joe Lovano, and Terri-Lynn Carrington. In Boston, Charles was able to continue his study of classical music as well as pursue his interest in jazz, improvisation and other genres of music. Charles studied with Jessica Zhou  principal harpist of the BSO and Felice Pomeranz jazz harp professor at Berklee. Charles successfully competed in the 2013 American Harp Society National Competition where he was a finalist. In his Senior year, Charles performed his Senior recital as a featured act at one of Boston’s premiere jazz clubs at the time, “Scullers” jazz club. That performance was the formal beginning of what has become known as the Charles Overton Group. Charles and the group went into the studio several months after his graduation from Berklee where they worked on and released their very first album, Convergence in July of 2017. Also while in school, he attended summer music festivals such as the Pacific Music Festival, Tanglewood Music Center, and the Castleton Festival.


Since graduating in 2016, Charles has quickly been making a name for Himself. Over the course of his musical career, Charles has continuously expanded his musicianship by  sharing the stage with other artists. Charles has continued to perform all genres of music and has shared the stage with various groups, artists and orchestras. Charles, when not teaching, looks forward to performing with as many different artists as possible. As a jazz musician he has played in festivals abroad like the Harpes au Max festival in Ancenis, while locally frequenting jazz series like Jazz at Indian Hill, and Mandorla Music’s Dot Jazz Series. As a classical musician, he appears frequently with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and has performed with Boston-based ensembles the Walden Chamber Players, and Collage New Music, as well as at the Marlboro Music Festival. His most recent concerts are : Harvard-Epworth Church Concert ( February 17, 2022), Boston Landmarks Orchestra (February 26, 2022), Music From Grove (March 6, 2022),  The Blue Journal Tour with Ester Wiesnerova in which Charles participated and contributed musically in launching their debut album with 11 original compositions comprised of 5 highly-talented International artists. (May 20-30, 2022), The Yellowbarn Concert Series (July 19 to August 6, 2022), Orpheus Chamber Concert (August 13, 2022), The Memorial Concert for Stephen Sondheim with Keith Lockart (Conductor), Nikki Renée Daniels, Conrad Ricamora and Emily Skinner (Vocalists), and Alton Fitzgerald White (Violinist) ( August 19, 2022), The BSO Tanglewood Concert Series; John Williams’s 90th Birthday Celebration (August 20, 2022), BSO Tanglewood concert with renowned conductor, Michael Tilson (August 27, 2022). To top it all, Charles was a part of the Experiential orchestra that won a Grammy in 2021 for the Ethyl Smyth piece. Charles, a musician, composer and educator who currently  serves on the faculty of the Boston Conservatory at Berklee  will continue to grow his musicianship, keeping his feet grounded while soaring high for his dreams and passion.

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