Native Texan, Kela Walton enjoys a varied career as a harp instructor and freelance performer. An innovative educator, Kela serves on the faculty at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth where she teaches harp to university and pre-college students, leads the TCU Harp Ensemble, and is the director of the TCU Summer Harp Workshop.
In demand as a teacher and clinician, Kela has worked with harp students and adjudicated competitions throughout the U.S. since 1998. She co-directed the Youth Harp Ensemble at the 2016 American Harp Society National Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. A registered Suzuki instructor, Kela founded the harp program at Buffalo Suzuki Strings where she taught individual and group harp lessons as well as Early Childhood Education classes until 2018. Ms. Walton previously held harp faculty positions at Temple College, Round Rock ISD, the University of Houston Moores School of Music Preparatory and Continuing Studies Program, Longhorn Music Camp, and Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp.
Kela can be heard on the 2019 release Respighi: Roman Trilogy for the Naxos label, as well as several other orchestral recordings. She held the position of Interim Principal Harp with Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra during the 2017-18 season and toured internationally with the BPO in Poland. Kela has performed with orchestras throughout the U.S. including the Asheville Symphony Orchestra, Austin Symphony Orchestra, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, San Antonio Symphony, South Carolina Philharmonic, Savannah Philharmonic, Temple Symphony, and Waco Symphony Orchestra. As a chamber musician she has premiered new works by award winning composers and was the harpist in residence with the Buffalo Chamber Players in New York. Kela enjoys enhancing private events with harp music, and previously held a four year position as the harpist at Austin’s historic Driskill Hotel on 6th street for holiday brunches and high tea.
Passionate about serving the harp community, Kela is currently the elected Chairman of Board of Directors for the American Harp Society. Kela’s articles have been published in the Harp Column magazine and The American Harp Journal. When not at the harp, she enjoys running, practicing yoga, and spending time with her nieces and nephew.
Kela Walton holds a Master of Music in Harp Performance and Pedagogy from The University of Houston Moores School of Music, and a Bachelor of Music in Harp Performance from The University of Texas at Austin Butler School of Music. Her harp instructors include former Houston Symphony principal harpist Paula Page, Gayle Barrington, and Nancy Hurrell. Her Suzuki training includes over 150 hours of coursework with Sharon Jones, Delaine Leonard, and Dr. Laurie Scott. Kela is also an alumnus of the Salzedo School in Camden, Maine where she studied upon invitation with Alice Chalifoux, former principal harpist of the Cleveland Orchestra.
Performance – Interim Principal Harp, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra (2017-2018)
Recording – Respighi: Roman Trilogy, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra for the Naxos label
Recording – Wagner: Orchestra Music from Der Ring des Nibelungen, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra for the Naxos label
Author – Symphony Spotlight for The American Harp Journal (Summer 2018)
Author – over 15 articles for the Harp Column (2006 – present)
Presenter – Parents as Partners online series for the Suzuki Association of the Americas (2020)
Co-Director – Harpapalooza, Dallas Chapter of the American Harp Society (2022)
Co-Director – American Harp Society Youth Harp Ensemble, 42nd National Conference in Atlanta, GA (2016)
Clinician – Fredonia Harp Day, State University of New York (2018)
Clinician – TMEA All State Orchestras harp sectionals (2014)
Clinician – TMEA Odessa All-City Harp Ensemble (2009)
American Harp Society
Suzuki Association of the Americas
Texas Music Educators Association
American Federation of Musicians
Mu Phi Epsilon
Chairman of the Board of Directors, American Harp Society (2020-2024)
First Vice President, American Harp Society (2016-2018)
Harp Panel Judge, Julia Herrman Edwards Scholarship Award Competition
Harp Panel Judge, Gail Barber Scholarship Award Competition
Harp Panel Judge, TMEA All State Orchestras