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Remenyi Prentice SusanREMENYI-PRENTICE, Susan - Harpist and teacher, passed away peacefully on Easter Saturday, April 11, 2020 at the Cedarvale Nursing Home in Toronto at the age of 92. 

Susan was born on New Year’s day in 1928 and began studying the harp at age 10. She obtained her artist diploma from the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest in 1950 as a pupil of Miklos Rékai. In 1949 she was second prize winner in the World Youth Festival held in Moscow, behind none other than a young cellist, Mstislav Rostropovich.

Susan was harpist of the Hungarian State Operetta orchestra until leaving Hungary with her husband Dr. Dénes Haraszthy during the 1956 freedom revolution. They arrived in Canada that year as refugees. In order to pursue ratification of his professional medical and specialist standing, they moved first to Charlottetown, then to Winnipeg before returning to Toronto.

It was in Charlottetown that Susan resumed her musical career as she was able to procure an instrument to play. This was no simple matter, as harps are both rare and extremely costly, well beyond the means of a newcomer. Thankfully, the nuns of an Ursuline convent came to the rescue with a rather rickety antique… but one that sufficed until she was able to purchase her own proper instrument. Susan served as harpist of the Hamilton Philharmonic, the newly opened O’Keefe Centre, was often heard on the CBC, and with various chamber groups, as well as solo recitals.

Through a friend, she met the legendary Marcel Grandjany, professor at Juilliard in New York. After auditioning, Grandjany accepted Susan as a private student, which paved the way for a lifelong friendship with the great man who many regarded as the foremost harpist of the time. The other great musical influence of her life was Tibor Polgár, the celebrated Hungarian composer and conductor. Polgár dedicated several original works, and numerous brilliant harp transcriptions and arrangements to Susan.

After her divorce in 1968, she moved to Caracas, Venezuela to live with her beloved mother and stepfather. She became a regular guest artist for the National Cultural Institute and performing not only locally, but throughout the country, as well as in Colombia and several Carribbean islands. In 1971 she was invited to be guest soloist at the American Harp Conference held in Bloomington, Indiana. Upon returning to Toronto in 1973 and was appointed head of the harp department of the Royal Conservatory where she taught until age 85. In Toronto she performed solo and chamber music and played for numerous Canadian and foreign dignitaries including HRH Prince Philip. Between 1981 and 2000, Susan served as president of the Toronto chapter of the American Harp Society and as Canadian Correspondent for the World Harp Congress. She released two albums and a C.D. entitled “Virtuoso harp Solos”. In 1974 she married Thomas Prentice, sharing a devoted and loving partnership for over 40 years. They were members of Armour Heights Presbyterian Church and the Toronto and the Toronto Cricket, Skating and Curling Club.

Susan was the recipient of numerous honours. In 2002, on the 50th anniversary of her graduation, she was awarded the Gold Diploma and in 2012 the Diamond Diploma from her alma mater, the Liszt Academy in Hungary.

Susan is sadly missed by her brother Michael and Rosa Remenyi, niece Christina and Greg Denny, nephew Mike Jr. and Deanna Remenyi.

A Celebration of Life is planned in due course.

She is now truly the harpist-angel she aspired to be through her life.