Madeleine Udell | Personal


Madeleine playing harp
Photo by Amy Fish

In my third grade play, "The San Francisco Symphony Falls Down," I was assigned to be an orchestral harpist. My duties consisted of waving my hands through the air. I thought this seemed much easier than piano and resolved to switch instruments. After more than fourteen years of practice and performance with more than fifteen ensembles, ten teachers, four students, and a host of weddings, funerals, cocktail parties, and impromptu gatherings in my living room, I have realized that my youthful impression was not entirely accurate.

Harp is one of the most forgiving instruments to begin, and one of the most difficult to perfect. It has the advantage of allowing the performer to carry a complex harmony as a soloist and to participate in the richer sounds of an orchestra. It has the disadvantage of complexity: a concert harp weighs over 90 pounds, is taller than I am, and has over 2,000 moving metal parts which scare many composers away from the instrument.




milking a goat
Photo by Melanie Horn


Madeleine playing harp

My cooking style is strongly influenced by the regional cuisine of my childhood - Californian, that is. So it tends towards various preparations of vegetables, legumes and whole grains, with seasoning ranging from olive oil and balsamic vinegar to soy sauce, ginger and garlic to a mix of spices that I like to pretend is Indian but never quite tastes that way.

Here are a few of my favorite recipes [.pdf]. Freely reproducible in comestible form.