Monika Haar is a pianist, music teacher, and environmental advocate based in Honolulu. Having spent a decade in New York City, she regularly collaborated with living composers to premiere many works. Monika directed and performed with InnoVox, a chamber music ensemble that focused on performing new pieces. InnoVox hosted a Green Concert, and selected the program from an international call for environmentally inspired works. They were featured nationally at the Chamber Music America Showcase Concert in Times Square, and was a finalist at the Arriaga Chamber Music Competition. Monika plays toy piano and melodica for a multi-cultural band called Le Petit Pépinot, and has performed with them since 2012. She collaborated with visual artist Thad Higa, and performed amplified typewriter for his art show opening at Box Jelly this year. She discovered her love for playing amplified objects, and accompanies Lori Ohtani’s butoh dance classes every week at the Japan Cultural Center of Hawai’i, as well as Peiling Kao’s modern dance classes at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa.
This year, Monika produced a music video together with her visual artist parents, Tom & Yoko Haar. It features her own movement and music composition, and aims to raise awareness on plastic marine debris. This video, “TRANSPARENCY” was premiered at the environmental gallery in NYC called One Planet One Future, and was shown locally at the Honolulu Biennial 2019, together with a panel discussion that Monika moderated with various local organizations that promote ocean advocacy.
Growing up in Hawaii, Monika was an active performer and competitor. From the age of nine, she was under the tutelage of Professor Peter Coraggio of the University of Hawai’i at Manoa Music Department. She won the advanced division of the Mozart Competition two years in a row, was featured live on Hawaii Public Radio, and performed Mozart’s K.488 with the Honolulu Symphony at age sixteen. Monika attended various music festivals, including the Kodály Institute of Music in Hungary, where she was the youngest participant at age fourteen, and was awarded 1st runner up for an international concerto competition the following year at the New Orleans Piano Institute.
Monika is devoted to teaching piano to students of all ages and maintains an active piano studio. She spent several years receiving technical training with Taubman Method specialist, Robert Durso, and attended the Golandsky Institute Summer Symposium at Princeton University for a couple of years. This allowed Monika to understand proper alignment and usage of the body in order to cure and avoid repetitive stress injuries. Monika attended the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College, where she studied with Robert Shannon, Robert Durso, and Ursula Oppens.