Photo: WaterAid/ James McCauley
Catrin Finch has just released her new, self-composed album, Tides. This disc is the first time Catrin’s own compositions have appeared as a complete body of work, and the album also features her piano skills. She has gifted one of the tracks, 'Changing Tides', to support WaterAid's work to bring safe water and sanitation to some of the world’s poorest communities.
We recently shipped a blue harp to Addis Ababa for Catrin Finch, who has been to Ethiopia as part of her work as an ambassador for WaterAid.
Catrin writes: "Growing up on the West coast of Wales, my childhood by the sea was one of the main influences on my creativity, so I suppose that’s why learning about WaterAid’s work to help the world’s poorest communities gain access to safe water, toilets and hygiene facilities really resonated with me. Today, over 748 million people around the world still have no clean water to drink, and globally over 500,000 children die every year from diarrhoea caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation. That's over 1,400 children a day.
Ethiopia is in the horn of Africa, where an extended period of droughts, famines and conflicts has had a serious impact on health and life expectancy. Many children die before the age of five and almost half of the population - over 44.5 million people - have no choice but to collect water from unsafe sources. To date, WaterAid has funded more than 50 water and sanitation projects in Ethiopia, transforming the lives of 1.2 million people with clean water and more than half a million people with safe sanitation, but until safe water reaches everyone everywhere, their work continues.
The sun is finally out, the joys of Spring are here, and the Harpblog news desk has been getting more and more emails about summer schools. Every year, we do our best to sponsor as many as we can: they are a perfect way to work intensively and quietly, free from day-to-day pressures, and to expand your artistic horizons and meet new friends. While my school and even college days fade fainter and fainter in my ageing memory, I still remember some fantastic harp courses as if they were yesterday. One I did, with Isabelle Perrin, was one of those eureka experiences, that in the space of just a few days totally change everything you think about playing the harp and being a musician. I'll never forget it, and of course I'm not alone.
And so, before you disappear for a weekend of drinking pastis and watching beautiful people go by from your sunny chair at a pavement café, here are our summer academy recommendations for 2015.
Académie internationale d'été du Grand Nancy. Professor: Germaine Lorenzini.
People vary in the extent to which they relish competitions. Having been useless at them myself, I regard their winners with great admiration and awe, and I also really feel for everyone who gets thrown out. I promise you that in the fullness of time it will cease to matter, but it's always very hard at the time.
A wise course of action in the bloody aftermath of first round results is to join Germaine Lorenzini for a cigarette in the fresh air, and this was where I found myself at the last Cité des Arts competition. "It's a horrible process sometimes, isn't it", I said, mournfully. "Of course it's a horrible process", said Germaine, "but we have no other solution. You can't achieve the constructive aspects of a competition in any other way. There's no better way to push your level, train your nerves, handle pressure. So we have to keep doing them."
And so, as we explain in the sponsoring section of camas-harps.com, we keep doing competitions. They are important, and to win one is an incredible achievement which should be celebrated far and wide. Nonetheless, festivals are more fun.
We have just returned from the Second Cracow Harp Days, and they have been a perfect example of why we love festivals. Interesting, diverse, and warm, organised in friendship and with a passion for the harp and the artists who play it, the weekend was a joy from start to finish.
We began with a celebration of young Polish talent: a lunchtime recital by Klara Woskowiak, co-winner of the Camac competition in London in 2014. If you were unlucky enough to miss it, you can enjoy a film of the entire concert on TV Zaprasza, one of the festival's national patrons.
The third Zagreb Harp Festival will take place at the end of April. We all had a great time at the second festival, with an inspiring programme and a wonderful welcome from our Croatian partner, Tajana Peić, and her husband Srdjan. We also loved the first festival, of course...it's not for nothing that Croatia is known to be a lovely place to visit.
Marie-Claire Jamet, Sylvain Blassel, at the second Zagreb Harp Festival, 2014
After the success of the second Zagreb festival's harp competition for children, this will happen again. You still have another two weeks to get your entries in (the closing date is April 15th), and you can find all terms and conditions in English here, and Croatian here. The jury comprises Isabelle Moretti (president), Irina Pashinskaya and Florence Sitruk, and there are two categories - lever and pedal harp.
The festival begins with the competition, and thereafter launches into an exciting programme of concerts, masterclasses and workshops. From a seminar on the Russian harp school to an exploration of the literature for viola and harp; from an extensive workshop with Raoul Moretti based around his Harpscapes project, to Isabelle Moretti with the Zagreb Soloists, and even harp with steel pan - festival week promises to never even entertain the idea of a dull moment. There are also two formal classical masterclasses: you can apply to work with Isabelle Moretti, and / or Florence Sitruk.
Festival passes can be purchased here, with special discounts for harpists, and Croatian students.
We never fail to be amazed and delighted by Harpfest, Katryna Tan's incredible festival in Singapore - and 2015 is no exception. Harpfest 5 will take place between September 4th - 6th, 2015, and presents a multitude of events in the course of just three days.
Firstly, there are a host of courses and masterclasses: by Catrin Finch as guest artist, a fine line-up of renowned teachers from throughout Asia, and a jazz workshop by none other than Jakez. Secondly, we'll enjoy a new adventure from Pluck - who first delighted audiences in Singapore in a sold-out and full-length harp opera in 2012. In the Harpfest Gala Concert, we will have the opportunity to hear award-winning young artists from around the region - together with established harp ensembles, and a special 50 harps tribute to Singapore’s 50th Birthday this year.
While you are drawing breath from reading all that, please note that Harpfest 5 also features two competition elements. Young artists can apply to perform in the Harpfest showcases; the deadline for application is July 15th, so apply early to avoid disappointment!
Last, but definitely not least, this year Harpfest is hosting the Asian Harp Chamber Music Competition.
The competition is open to two age groups - junior (12 and under), and youth (20 and under) - and to all local and Asian nationalities. The first round is via video recording before June 15th, and the (public) final will be on September 4th at the University Cultural Center, National University Singapore. First Prize Winners from both categories will then perform in the Harpfest Gala Concert in the University Cultural Center Theatre, on September 6th.
There is an early bird discount for all festival pass booking before May 30th. Being an early bird is also recommended if you are coming from overseas and would like help finding accommodation - Harpfest has organised preferential rates with local hotels, subject to availability.
Those of us on the Camac team who are already going to Singapore in September can hardly wait already, and those of us currently not on the list are busy devising compelling professional reasons for our necessary attendance. Download your festival pass form here!
Posted at 09:54 PM | Permalink
Jakez will be at the Frankfurt Musikmesse, together with David Rescher of the Harfengalerie Camac Berlin, between April 15th - 18th. Our stand is F44, hall 3, level 1. We are pleased to inform you that we also have fifty free entrance tickets to the Messe to give away!
We've received them because we've been selected for coverage in the Musikmesse's various communications. The day passes are worth 20€ each and including travel on local public transport to the Messe, so they are a great deal. If you would like one, please email either David at email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also email us regarding any particular requests for our exhibition.
Hurry, hurry, while stocks last!