Judy Loman has led a generally low-profile concert career -- a career largely limited to Toronto and other major cities in Canada -- but is nonetheless considered among the finest harpists of her generation.
As a recording artist she has been nearly ubiquitous, however, performing a wide range of repertory and on a variety of local and international labels, including RCA, Naxos, CBC, Musica Viva, and Marquis Music. Loman has been praised not only for her interpretations of standards in the harp repertory by Grandjany, de Falla, Fauré, Hindemith, Pierné, and others, but for her performance and advocacy of contemporary works: she premiered two important harp concertos specifically written for her, those by John Weinzweig (1965) and R. Murray Schafer (1988). Loman has managed to balance parallel careers in music, serving as a member of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra for over 40 years, and as a freelance soloist and recitalist. In addition, she has been a harp teacher since 1966.
Judy Loman was born on November 3, 1936, in Goshen, IN. She was a precocious child and began serious study on the harp in 1947 with famed harpist Carlos Salzedo in Camden, ME. She later studied with him at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia. In 1956, the year she concluded studies with Salzedo at his Maine harp colony, Loman married trumpeter Joseph Umbrico and moved to Toronto the following year.
In 1959 she was appointed principal harpist of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. It was during a 1965 European tour that Loman premiered the Weinzweig concerto. Other successful European and U.S. tours would follow, but Loman was also well on her way to forging a career as a soloist, recitalist, and recording artist: in 1979 she received the Juno award in the Classical category for her recording premiere of the Schafer Crown of Ariadne.
Loman was quite active both on the concert stage and recording studio in the closing decades of the 20th century, but in 2002 she decided to retire from the TSO to focus on her teaching duties at the Curtis Institute, as well as at the Toronto Royal Conservatory of Music and the University of Toronto, whose faculty she joined in 1966. She also began to prepare many of her harp arrangements for publication. Among Loman's later recordings is Illuminations (2007) on Marquis Music, which containing works by Schafer, Glenn Buhr, and other contemporary composers; and Lullabies & Carols for Christmas (2010) with soprano Monica Whicher on Naxos.