Alexander Granados, director of Camac Ibérica, greets the public at the Real Conservatorio Supérior de Musica de Madrid
Jakez and Eric report from Madrid that Camac Ibérica have had a super first birthday party! A full house awaited Gabriella Dall'Olio and François Pernel's recital in the auditorium of the Real Conservatorio Supérior de Musica de Madrid, and the two artists were applauded wonderfully by their delighted public. Gabriella and François even concluded their shared concert together, improvising on Paul Lewis's Saturday Night Jazz Suite. Here are some photographs of the concert, plus the ensuing day of successful masterclasses. A big muchas gracias to Gabriella, François and to everyone who came in such numbers to both events!
Waiting for it all to begin
Camac Ibérica, our partner in Madrid, is one year old in January! To celebrate, we are sponsoring a harp weekend of concerts and masterclasses on January 18th and 19th, at the Real Conservatoiro Superior de Musica de Madrid. We're delighted to be able to welcome exceptional lever harpist François Pernel, winner of the fifth Camac Trophy at the Festival Interceltique de Lorient in the summer of 2012. For concert harp, you have the chance to hear and play for Gabriella Dall'Olio, the highly respected and much loved Professor of Harp at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, London.
Admission and participation in all events is free of charge. To reserve places, please contact Alexander Granados at Camac Ibérica:
C/San pedro, 7 - 28014 Madrid
Tel +34 91 006 37 27
Mob. +34 61 964 89 68
We've just sent six Atlantides for the final part of Marek Janowski's Wagner Tetralogy with the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin. Charged with the task of booking all the harpists for the project, Deutsche Oper principal Virginie Gout-Zschäbitz asked us if we could help. "I didn't call Jakez at first, because I thought it would certainly be impossible", Virginie explains, "until a colleague of mine in Bamberg, Laurence Forstner-Beaufils, persuaded me to give it a try. Jakez immediately said he'd be delighted to help, and seemingly without any effort at all, the harps have simply arrived at the Philharmonie!
It's wonderful to be able to have six instruments all of the same make and model. It gives the harp section a much more unified sound, which our conductor is particularly excited about, not to mention more accurate intonation. I'm very glad we're not going to have to juggle harps of various degrees of regulation."
We are running this in-kind sponsorship of the concert series in partnership with Harfengalerie Camac Berlin. Mike Dobek, Harfengalerie's technician, was on hand today before the first rehearsal, checking the harps after their transport from Mouzeil and making sure they are in the best possible condition.
First row, left-right: Renate Erxleben, Magdalena Zimmerer, Virginie Gout
Second row, left-right: Tatiana Schütz, Cecil Ulrich, Lena Buchberger
Mike Dobek and Virginie Gout
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.
Here are some photos from the second part of the launch party for La Casa del Arpa. Camac Ibérica is our new partner for Spain and also Portugal, and it was great to find that two students from Portugal had made the long journey to play in the masterclass with Isabelle Moretti. A huge thank-you to Isabelle for her wisdom and her time, and well done Sophie Steiner (Austria), Selma Garcia (Spain), Juan Antonia Garcia Diaz (Spain), Catarina Rebelo (Portugal) and Ana Aroso (Portugal)! Many thanks, also, to Nuria Llopis for being our wonderful interpreter throughout the masterclass.
As I said in my last post, we are also hugely proud of Alex: no detail was too much trouble, and his organisation and planning assured the great success of the weekend. He even gave me a ride on his motorbike, which is one of the most exciting things to have happened to me for ages.
Waiting for it all to begin - every chair in the store was brought downstairs, including the practice room sofa
And some Nadermann
Here in Madrid, Camac Ibérica's launch is underway! Last night, we heard a wonderful, sell-out concert by Marie Normant, Boris Grelier and Isabelle Moretti. Marie and Boris performed some of the best repertoire the flute and harp combination has to offer, with great temperament and flair - if you think flute and harp is boring, look no further than this duo for a swift revision of opinion. From the wistful, et in Arcadia-quality of Jean Cras's Suite en Duo, to the kaleidoscope of feeling that is Piazzolla's Histoire Du Tango and the Romantic plasticity of the Saint-Saëns Fantasie Op. 124, we didn't want the first half to end. We were, however, soon comforted by the arrival of the second half. Isabelle Moretti received a standing ovation for her stunning programme, the first concert on her new harp, and featuring the first performance of her transciption of Debussy's Suite Bergamasque. When Isabelle's first notes rang out, I wondered if I had died and gone, against all the odds, to heaven. I was not the only one asking themselves this question: had it been true, St Peter would have had a busy night. Whatever happens in the afterlife, in the here and now, one thing is sure. It is not always easy to be a musician, but when you experience such music, you remember why you are doing it, what makes it all worthwhile.
The concert was followed by a drinks reception at the Camac Ibérica store. "I'm on the list...Jakez, he knows me" I squeaked, as I tried to get through the door. Finally inside, it was great to find a party in full swing, that went on well into the small hours. It's just as well Spanish time runs later than in the chilly North. Isabelle's masterclass will begin today at 4PM, and we're now all up, bright-eyed and off for some tapas before it begins.
We are really proud of Alexander Granados, who has worked tirelessly to prepare the showroom and organise the event. It has also been brilliant that so many Spanish harpists made time to attend - muchas gracias to you all!
Continue reading for last night's photos!
Photo: Jens Schumann
Between November 3rd and 5th, 2011, the Harfengalerie Camac Berlin will be holding a special harp exhibition. This is your chance to try out a particularly fine selection of Camac's top-end concert harps: the Trianon, Elysée and Oriane, and the exhibition will be open from 11AM to 7PM on Thursday 3rd and Saturday 5th, and 12 noon to 6PM on the Friday.
A close-up detail of a recent white gold Oriane - this one was sold at the last World Harp Congress
Friday November 4th also offers a special workshop for professional harpists and advanced students. Claudia Eichstädter, herself a harpist and also a teacher of the Feldenkrais Method, will give a two-hour introduction to this technique, proven to be of such benefit to musicians. The workshop will examine the movements harpists typically make when they play, and show you how to avoid injury by performing these movements in the most physically optimal manner.
Frau Eichstädter's course is free, but because of the limited number of places available please sign up in advance by contacting David Rescher or Mike Dobek at the Harfengalerie:
14059 Berlin - Charlottenburg
Telefon +49 (0) 30 - 21 97 11 76
Mobil +49 (0) 163 - 717 30 17
Sehr geehrte Harfenistinnen und Harfenisten, geschätzte Studentinnen und Studenten im Fach Harfe!
Hiermit möchten wir Sie sehr herzlich zu einer Sonderausstellung einladen, welche wir gemeinsam mit unserem Partner Les Harpes Camac France für Sie organisiert haben.
After years of no harp shop in the land, good news for harpists in Israel - Aylet's Strings, Camac's new representation in Tel Aviv, is now open! It has been founded by Camac-certified harp technician Nadav Konieczny and his mother, Nili, and finally offers Israeli harpists the chance to buy harps and accessories directly, and to have their harps regulated whenever it suits them.
"I have a background in fixing things, like cars", Nadav explained to Harpblog yesterday, "so when we inherited a Russian harp with a broken neck mechanism I tried - with the help of a harp manual - to fix that too. Harps are very neglected in Israel because of the scarcity of regulation tours, and it has always been difficult to get hold of parts for independent repairs. I ended up working on quite a few harps belonging to friends and local teachers, and in the end we thought - we're doing a lot of helping out here, so why not make it official?
We contacted Eric Piron at Camac France about the possibility of becoming Camac partners in Israel. He responded warmly, and invited us to Mouzeil so that Nadav could take the Camac technical course and become a certified Camac technician. Aylet's Strings has now been open for three months, and we will be exhibiting at the first Israeli Harp Festival next week. I will be conducting a workshop for harpists in basic harp maintenance, and we'll also be bringing a fine Atlantide Prestige and a Bardic for people to try. We're also lending this Atlantide to artists performing in the festival who cannot bring their own harp, so of course we are also organising time for them to get used to the harp before they perform.
We hope we can offer harpists a valuable resource both for buying new instruments, and having their existing ones repaired for the first time in Israel. I'm designing a harp trolley at the moment, which a racing car manufacturer I know will then build. The point is to be able to offer accessories without astronomical import costs. At the moment, if you buy a low range harp trolley for $300, you have to pay $700 on top of that for the shipping from the US.
In any case, I take a lot of pleasure in good technical design. I really admire the innovations Camac has brought into harp design, from the way they have eliminated the possibility of broken pedal rods, to the disc system that gives a more precise intonation. They are the harps of the twenty-first century, and I can't wait to see what they come up with next."
"Nadav Konieczny is a talented harp technician, whom it has been a pleasure to work with on the Camac technical course. I am delighted that he and Nili are now our official partners in Israel. Our instruments should now be more accessible and affordable for Israeli harpists, as well as such a good technician now being available full-time."
Nili Konieczny at the Camac factory in Mouzeil
It's time for another "je vous présente...": Harpblog's occasional series of portraits of members of the Camac team. This time, "je vous présente..." has headed for the warm south to talk with Massimo Alboreto, Enrico Tartarotti's colleague at Camac Italia.
Massimo met Enrico two years ago, by means of - like so much successful business - happy chance: their daughters are at school together. The two fathers' playground conversations about the harp world rapidly turned into formal collaboration, and Massimo has been working at Camac Italia for the last year. By profession, he is an events manager, with twenty-five years of experience organising meetings and conferences in the corporate sphere. It is this non-harpist know-how that he and Enrico are putting to good use, as they develop new projects for the Italian harp scene.
"I'm not a harpist, but I was immediately taken with the idea of working in the harp world. I like the fact it's quite small and particular, because you can really get to know the individual artists within it. Also, perhaps because it's something of a niche, it's a world that labours under various pre- and misconceptions about what it is like. I especially notice these misconceptions because I'm not a harpist, so I'm aware of how people "on the outside" view the harp.
For example, it's still the case in Italy that the majority of non-harpists, if they think about the harp at all, think of the cliché of a girl in a long dress playing gentle music. So we organised our recent classical / jazz masterclass weekend to highlight the instrument's musical versatility. Of course, masterclasses are primarily for people who already play the harp, but the event also caught the interest of non-harpists, like the press. I'm very happy about this - the more the general music world takes an interest in harp events, the better it is for harpists.
Similarly, at the moment we're working on finding settings for the harp that are relatively new or unusual in Italy. This has a double-edged effect: it creates new avenues of work for harpists, and it helps get new people interested in the harp. They then engage harpists or take harp lessons, and the positive circle continues. If you want to develop a market you need to be creative and reach out. Small is beautiful, but it should never mean insular."