Petra van der Heide studied with Erika Waardenburg in Utrecht, Maria Graf in Hamburg and Charlotte Cassedanne in Berlin. In addition, she has participated in masterclasses with Susann McDonald and Tanya Tauer. In 1987, at the age of 16, she played in the ‘Focus on Youth Concerts’ during the 3rd World Harp Congress in Vienna and in subsequent years, won several prizes in national and international competitions.
When she lived in Germany (between 1993 and 2003) she played in many of the major German orchestras such as the Gewandhaus Orchester Leipzig, Bamberger Symphoniker and the Bayerische Rundfunk (Bavarian Radio Orchestra), Munich. She also held the post of solo harpist in the Darmstadt Opera for 5 years, before ultimately returning to Holland.
She has been the principal harpist of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Amsterdam since 2003, and has worked with conductors such as Mariss Jansons, Riccardo Chailly, Bernard Haitink, Lorin Maazel, Nicolaus Harnoncourt and Zubin Mehta.
She has been a teacher at the conservatory in Amsterdam untill season 2011-2012, and gives special training in orchestral auditions. Harpists as well as other instrumentalists came from all parts of the world to follow her special designed auditiontraining. Since 2014, this training exclusively takes place at Harpmasters Academy in Switzerland, Muenchenbuchsee in cooperastion with Irina Zingg.
Petra gives masterclasses and lectures all over the world. As a hobby she is a dedicated writer about her profession and all connected subjects.