Arpeggio is the brainchild of harpist Barbora Placha. "During my postgraduate studies with Jana Bouskova in Brussels, the time came for me to decide what harp to choose for my professional life. Obviously this is always going to be a matter of personal taste, but as somebody brought up on old, exhausted and unregulated harps from the Eastern bloc, I can tell you that all the major modern firms can offer you fine instruments. What they do not all offer, however, is a good service. When I saw how well Camac look after their harps and their clients, that clinched it for me, and I bought a blue harp.
I had also really benefited from all the harp events there are in Belgium, and I thought it was a pity there was nowhere in the Czech Republic to buy good-quality harps, as well as strings and music. As I was so happy with my harp, of course I wanted to approach Camac first with the idea. It did not take very long before the day of our official opening arrived. More than sixty harpists came to our opening day, from professionals, to very young beginners.
We have set up shop in a gallery appartment in the Holesovice district of Prague, a formerly industrial area that is now an up-and-coming cultural hub. The reaction to our atelier has been wonderful! There has been particular interest in the lever harps. The harp generally is getting more and more popular in Prague, and it is a pleasure to be able to show people that it can be a "normal", affordable instrument. Five schools have already bought harps, and we're working on a programme of events to make the harp more accessible.
One project we already did was to provide harps for a big concert by the harpists from three music schools. There were eighteen young players in all, all students of Vendula Vankova. We sent a pedal harp and various lever harps for them to play, in the fine setting of the Prague museum of musical instruments. The students played really well - at the end of the evening, two out of the three directors decided to buy more harps!
It is also fantastic to be able to make good-quality harps easily available for the first time. The professional scene here has been amazed by the quality of our instruments, and it is not just harpists who notice - one reason why we've had so much support from music school principals is that they hear the difference between these harps, and the ones they are used to.
Our next event will take place on May 25th, at the music school in Liberec. There will be a masterclass by the professors of the Hana Jouzova-Müllerova Music Gymnasium in Prague, a concert featuring many Czech harpists (including me!), and we will also hold a harp exhibition."