Deborah Henson-Conant

Telling stories with music at HipHarp.com

Last night I learned that my beloved friend Jim Mouradian died suddenly, while waiting to go on stage for an encore.  My sense of loss was complete.  This man was truly loving, beloved and an incredible craftsman.

I went to the web to try to find more and stumbled on this post in a reddit chat …

… and I just want to go on record that Jim Mouradian DID work on harps – MINE.  I started going to Jim 25 years ago to see if there was a way to retrofit my concert harp with a bass pickup.  I dragged my harp up to his tiny 3rd floor workroom above Cambridge Music and we pulled pickups out of boxes and experimented, and laughed and spent time together pushing the boundaries of the harp physically.

Jim thought outside the soundbox.  He never said, ‘But that’s a harp, not a guitar. I only work on guitars.‘ He treated my harp like it was a member of the guitar family

That first trip was the beginning of a long friendship based on my instruments and Jim’s incredible humanity and craftsmanship.

When I got my first custom-built signature-model “DHC” harp, I took it to JIM to add the finessing touches that the designer left out and then sent Jim’s recommendation back to the designer to incorporate into the next model.

He understood that the instrument had to work for me, the way my body works, the way I perform on stage, and he worked with me to make that happen – grabbing parts from a bank of drawers, trying them out, finding ways to give me more physical freedom with my instrument by finessing the hardware.

See this photo (below?). Before this trip to Jim, this harp was wobbling and slipping off the harness whenever I got physical with my playing.  One trip to Jim and you can see, it’s as secure as if it was part of my own body.  Jim did that.

How can you even put a value on that?  It’s heartbreaking to even begin to think how much we’ve lost by losing Jim.

These are photos from a visit to his new spacious Winchester shop in 2012 with my assistant Beatriz and her daughter Corina to work on 3 of my harps.

It was so wonderful just to be around you, Jim. I don’t know anyone who was more universally loved and respected.  Not just loved … adored.

I already miss you so deeply, Jim.

(And thank you to Beatriz Harley for taking these wonderful photos)