Carolyn Mills grew up by the banks of the Mississippi River, and began playing the harp at a young age. In her teenage years, she travelled to Boston to further her studies with renowned soloist and teacher, Lucile Lawrence. While gaining a Master’s Degree in performance at Boston University, Carolyn became the first ever harpist to win the Boston University Concerto-Aria Competition, debuting in Boston’s beautiful Jordan Hall.
She recorded and performed many premieres for the Boston-based Composers in Red Sneakers and her contemporary harp and percussion duo, TALEA, toured America playing numerous works written especially for them.
Carolyn became the “the world’s southern-most harpist” when she accepted an engagement as Guest Artists aboard the MV Marco Polo for its 1995-96 Antarctica Voyages.
Since she loves to play to the toughest and most critical audiences, she has taken her harp to thousands of primary school children in both New Zeland and the US, and has received several grants to take her widely-acclaimed School “Informance” Programme to rural communities all over the country. Carolyn is Artist Teacher of Harp at Victoria University of Wellington, and also teaches privately at her seaside home in Wellington.
Carolyn has been principal Harpist with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra since 1989.