Ann Elizabeth “Libby” Calk, the Atlanta Symphony’s first-ever harpist, joined the orchestra in the 1950s. She died last year — on April 23, 2016, at age 91 — and, to celebrate her love of music, her family has now donated her 1947 custom-made Lyon & Healy harp to the ASO.
Calk was born April 17, 1925, in Mileston, Miss., and began studying music when her family moved “to town” in nearby Tchula. She played piano before moving on to the harp, which was a gift from an uncle.
Calk earned her music degree from Ward-Belmont Conservatory of Music in Nashville, and moved to New York City to study with Carlos Salzedo, considered one of the world’s finest harpists, at his Summer Harp Colony in Camden, Maine. With Salzedo’s support, she performed throughout the United States and Mexico, ultimately moving to Atlanta. She met her husband, physician Guy L. Calk, while playing harp at a wedding.