Here are some photos from L'Académie Camac - keep out an eye for regular additions...
The Camac team’s toughest déplacement (trip) of the year has begun: L’Académie Camac. We’re staying at the beautiful Mas de la Rabassière in Provence in the South of France. Our host, Michael Frost, is fast becoming a course living legend, as well as being possibly the best cook in the world.
Most people decide to become musicians because they love music more than almost anything else. Love and ease are not the same, because you care profoundly about what happens to those or what you love. In music, what you love needs a lot of time, quiet work and reflection to realize – and there are always a lot of demands on your time. This juggling always shouts most loudly for attention, and while it does have a positive side, if you are always only juggling you will not reach the heart of music. We therefore wanted to create a week for young artists, with the best possible teaching, and also the space to absorb it.
Love and ease are not the same, and nor is there anything magically instantaneous about the pursuit of excellence. Several of the students have come out of their first lesson looking dazed: “I’ve got more to write down after an hour and a half than in all the lessons I’ve had in my life before”, said one. Germaine Lorenzini’s teaching is very strong. You will know this if you’ve ever had it, and you’ll have an inkling of it if you’ve read her recent interview in Harp Column Magazine. It is an intense experience, for profound and real results. We'll do our best to give a sense of some of it, throughout the week.
The end of April is a busy time for harp events, even by our standards. Some of us will be at L'Académie Camac in the South of France; there is the Wales International Harp Festival in Caernarfon, and we are also looking forward to being in Uppsala for the Fifth Sweden Harp Days! Our usual exhibition and regulation opportunities will be accompanied by three days of masterclasses and concerts across a classical spectrum of concert harp, lever harp, and chamber music. The long weekend will begin with an evening recital by the Atlantic Harp Duo, whom we had the pleasure of hearing at the Dutch Harp Festival not so long ago. Isabelle Perrin - newly Scandanavia-ized through her new position at the Norwegian Academy of Music - will give a masterclass on the Saturday. Anne Postic, who among many other things was our Camac Voice of March, will conclude the event with another masterclass, this time for the lever harp.
The Sweden Harp Days have long been organized in collaboration with Gertrud Schneider. It was Gertrud who built up the class at the Uppsala music school, where the days will take place. "I am Swiss, and it was love that originally brought me to Sweden, forty years ago", she explains. "At the time, there was no harp at all north of Stockholm. But while you might think you're heading into a desert, if nothing exists before you, in fact it can be easier to build something up. I began teaching because people were fascinated by the harp, and in any case the orchestral work was already covered by colleagues in jobs. When I started the class, I had four pupils, and when I retired, there were seventeen. Building up the class also lead to setting up classes in other music schools. And the more pupils you have, the more likely it is that some will turn professional, continuing to develop the harp scene.
One thing that was very important in building up my harp classes was a system of affordable harp rental. First of all, it was a new idea in Sweden that you could begin to learn classical harp, on a lever harp. It was a relatively new idea for me too: before I went to Sweden, I attended a workshop by Lake Constance, in order to explore the possibilities of the lever harp for teaching.
Using lever harps, it was possible for my music schools to subsidise the harp rental and make it the same price as renting a violin or clarinet. That's very important, as then parents do not have to dismiss the harp as an object only for the rich.
It was also by the shores of Lake Constance that I first met the Camac team. I'm now on my second blue harp - I bought my first soon after this meeting, in the mid-eighties - and it is very useful to me in my freelance work. I use it for events, for outdoor concerts, and everything where some amplification is your friend.
I am very happy to be organizing the Sweden Harp Days once again. We are always delighted by the visiting artists, and by the opportunity to try new harps and have our existing ones overhauled. I also hope no ash cloud will descend this time, as happened in 2010! The harps made it to Stockholm, but nobody else did...we got on with the exhibition ourselves, and sold the harps to each other!"
It took more than a puff of smoke to stop the Camac harps travelling to Sweden
On March 9th, 2014, L'Espace Camac is host to Quentin Vestur and his Duo Sunstep. Quentin was our Camac Voice of September 2013, and you can read his interview here. We're looking forward to a workshop on arranging Breton and Irish music - Quentin's particular specialisms - for the lever harp. Duo Sunstep consists of Quentin on lever harp, and Glenn Gouthe on uilleann pipes. They are your chance to discover Scottish, Irish and Breton melodies, dances and airs, heard in arrangements ranging from the elaborate to the simple, and always performed with sensitivity, creativity and swing.
As ever, contact Claude to reserve your seats: [email protected], or telephone 00 33 1 40 40 08 40.
Our longstanding Camac Harp Competition in London will take place on May 4th and 5th, 2014: the syllabus and entry forms are now available on the competition website. This national competition is open to harpists aged under thirty, resident and/or studying in the United Kingdom.
This year, we've improved the first prize: the recital opportunity will now take place in collaboration with The Proms At St Jude's 2014. This excellent annual festival always has a great line-up (last year, for example, the music programme included Sir Willard White, John Lill and The Sixteen) and is an important fixture in the North London concert calendar. The Camac competition winner will be offered a paid lunchtime recital on Tuesday, June 24th, 2014 at 12:45 PM.
We are delighted to announce the launch of a new sponsorship project: L’Académie Camac.
The pursuit of a life in music is profound and noble, but it is also often gruelling. For some years now, I have dreamed of a Camac Académie, to provide our young clients with an exceptional chance to work under ideal and highly individual conditions, where they may relax and flourish.
In 2014, this dream is becoming a reality! Our Académie consists of a week’s residential course, in Provence in the South of France. There will be five places, in order that each participant may enjoy a daily private lesson with the teacher, this year Germaine Lorenzini. Each student will have their own practice room and harp, so that they do not have to share and juggle practice time. We have also designed the course to give every young artist maximum freedom. Informal performance opportunities will be available daily, but they are not compulsory, and we also hope that the course venue’s convivial setting will be a new source of energy and a chance to exchange experiences and ideas.
Apart from travel costs to the course venue, we are sponsoring the project in full: full board and harp lessons are free for the students. All course details and application information are available on the project website, www.academie-camac.com.
With my very best wishes,
Christmas is coming! It's time to get your chestnuts, open fires, fingerless gloves and dewy-eyed children down from the attic, and play a looping soundtrack of the Oratorio de Noël, Ceremony of Carols, Nutcracker and Hansel und Gretel. It's also time to go to Paris, for the veritable festive institution that is Claude's
Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without Harpy Christmas. This open stage is for everyone - young, old, professional, amateur, alone, in duo or ensemble - if you would like to come and perform in a convivial and relaxed atmosphere, sign up with Claude without delay!
After the open stage, we're very happy to be welcoming the most recent winner of the London Camac trophy: Tamara Young. Also a winner of the Trinity Laban John Marson prize for an "outstanding and creative young musician", Tamara performs across a broad range of projects, from classical freelancing to at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club. She frequently collaborates with composers in commissioning multi media harp works, often involving electronics, choreography and film projection, and is a Britten-Pears Young Artist for 2013.
Ne manquez pas son passage à l'Espace Camac!
We're excited about going to Lima next week, November 21st - 24th, for the Primer Encuentro Latinoamericano de Arpistas Clásicos y Folclóricos del Perú. We will be at the Lima Ministerio de Cultura, as part of the 75th anniversary celebrations of the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional. There will be a fine range of concerts and masterclasses, including a lecture on the relationship of classical and traditional music in Peru, and a closing concert together with musicians from the Orquesta Nacional. Throughout the festival, there will be an exhibition of our concert, lever, electric and llanera harps, with Jakez on hand to answer all your questions about our harps and their manufacture. Jakez will also give a regulation workshop.
Particular thanks to Clelia Mertens and the Opus Peru Ars foundation for their valuable collaboration, making this event happen!