The Hippist Harpist

Markus Klinko really doesn’t look like someone you’d expect to see sitting behind a harp. It’s hard to miss the muscular, green-eyed Swiss hunk who has made it his mission to be noticed on any crowded stage. “My flamboyant visual approach has sometimes been criticized by other musicians, but 1 think they’re just jealous, ” Klinko says. “A pretty instrument should be played by a pretty person. ” He knows that many people associate the harp with little old ladies plucking away in the corner of some hotel bar, and that’s exactly the image he wants the world to forget.

Upon moving to Dallas seven months ago, Klinko set out to de-wimpify the harp business. First, personal appearance. With the help of a fitness trainer, Klinko spent three hours a day toning up his lanky six-foot, one-inch frame. (“I want to be the Arnold Schwarzenegger of the harp, ” says Klinko. ) Before long he was posing for fashion layouts in Vogue, granting interviews to Playboy, and being photographed for ads in music mags like High Fidelity.

Next, he took a long, hard look at his many-stringed sidekick and decided it, too, needed some fine-tuning. The $40, 000 rosewood harp was attractive enough to the average eye, but hardly a show stopper. So, collaborating with a Dallas jeweler, Klinko had diamonds placed on the wooden bars located between each of the harp strings. When the bars moved from side to side, theorized Klinko, the diamonds would catch the light and glitter like hundreds of tiny stars. “I want to be the world’s second Liberace, ” he says, beaming over his newly souped-up beauty.

And, of course, there’s the music. For starters, he’s got a five-year recording contract with CBS Masterworks (that means at least eleven new albums), a PBS special in the works to be broadcast via satellite to some three million viewers around the world, and tours set for Korea, Singapore, and the Philippines. But all this is the standard fare for classical music stars; leave it to Klinko to add an extra edge. “I’m working with an L. A. production company right now on my music video to accompany the Mozart Melody By Klinko piece, ” he says. “It’ll be girls, beach, cars, and muscle, you know, that sort of thing. “

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