Mary Anderson was born in
Melbourne, where she was taught both harp and
piano from four years of age. Initially, she was taught at home, first
by her grandmother, Mrs. Maud Bendall, and then by her aunt,Rosalie Bendall.
She studied the harp subsequently in London with Tina Bonifacio , and in
The Hague with the Dutch soloist, Edward Witsenburg .
From the University of Melbourne, she holds the degrees of B.Mus., studying
the harp under the direction of Huw Jones , and B.A.(Hons.), majoring in French
and Fine Arts.
She worked in London for three years as a free-lance player receiving consistent
work as either first or second harp with all major free-lance orchestras and various
provincial orchestras, and in addition she played frequently for both opera and ballet.
Mary spent three years as principal harp with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra,
and then worked for ten years for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in the
position of second harp in the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, during which time
she played both first and second harp in every one of the six A.B.C. orchestras.
Since 1988, she has been principal harp in Orchestra Victoria,
having previously played regularly with this orchestra as a casual player on
either first or second harp since returning to Melbourne, and for a brief time she
played as principal harp for the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra in Sydney.
She has worked often in theatre orchestras for numerous musicals as well as for
opera and ballet, and has played in a wide variety of radio, televison and
film studio orchestras both in London and in Melbourne.
Mary plays frequently as a soloist, performing both the classical harp
repertoire and lighter music. During the 1980's she played seven days a week
at The Regent, Melbourne, and five nights a week at The Parkroyal on St. Kilda Road
in Melbourne. In 1984 she released a recording of light music for solo harp,
entitled "An Affair of the Harp". For this sort of work, as well as on this recording,
she plays all her own arrangements. Mary has played many works from the harp solo
repertoire proper for both the New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation and the
Australian Broadcasting Corporation. She plays a great deal of chamber music and
has performed often as a soloist with various choirs in Melbourne, recording
Benjamin Britten's "Ceremony of Carols"
on CD with the Ormond College Choir.
Mary acts as an examiner in harp, and is the Victorian representative on the
Harp Specialist panel for the A.M.E.B. She has written a book linked to
the A.M.E.B. examination syllabus, entitled "Sight Reading Examples for Harp",
and she has worked as a part-time tutor in Classical and Romantic Music History
for the University of Melbourne.