We’ve just returned from an action-packed weekend organized by our UK partners, Telynau Vining. The harp days we and/or our partners sponsor usually aim to provide a broad spectrum of artistic and commercial opportunity. There will be concerts, probably across different musical genres. There will be masterclasses and workshops, plus Camac sales & service, with an exhibition and regulation opportunities.
Our exhibition in Cardiff
We also always try and strike an intelligent balance between input from international visiting artists, and local talent. Music is a universal language, but equally every country we visit has its own musical life to support and celebrate.
Cardiff was no exception: Telynau Vining surpassed themselves with an ambitious programme for children, professionals and amateurs alike. From “Become a Harpist for a Day” for complete beginners, to masterclasses by Elinor Bennett, Eira Lynn Jones, and Val Aldrich-Smith, to a fascinating lecture from Meinir Heulyn about concert dress, and a grand finale with Deborah Henson-Conant live on video link from the US, the wide range of events had something for everyone – and this, not only.
It can be very enlightening when a programme offers things you can see are for you, but also explores what hasn’t been on your radar. Once you are there, curiosity entices you through the doors of classes you wouldn’t otherwise have thought of. It is, for example, an education to watch a masterful pedagogue like Elinor Bennett teaching grades 1-4. Teaching beginners well is far from self-evident, particularly when you have just left music college, and grades 1-4 are a long time past in you own experience. It is similarly thought-provoking to see Eira Lynn Jones expertly handle a mixed ability masterclass. In such a group, how do you ensure that everyone has a constructive experience, whether they are playing or watching? How do you coax the less confident into performing, while showing the more advanced players in the group why this is also relevant to them? How do you be rigorous, so everyone leaves having learnt something, while simultaneously managing to inspire, not discourage? It was equally impressive to watch Shelley Fairplay work with her large ensembles of complete beginners (“Become a Harpist for a Day”, complete with T-shirts), and her own students, the aptly-named Dynamic Harps. Teachers like these are passionate, committed and they know that music is for everyone.
The second Cracow Harp Days will take place on March 21st and 22nd, 2015! This is our second festival project with Agnieszka Grela-Fedkowicz and the Szkoła Muzyczna I i II st im. B. Rutkowskiego. The first Cracow Harp Days were in 2010, and included an unforgettable recital by Anneleen Lenaerts of music from her then recent album of Chopin and Liszt.
The 2015 Days will follow the same format of a festival weekend, a balance of concerts and masterclasses, and a blend of classical music and jazz. We are looking forward to hearing Florence Sitruk, Artistic Director of the International Harp Contest in Israel and Visiting Professor at the Cracow Music Academy, who will give a recital, and a day of masterclasses for conservatoire students and young professionals.
We are also delighted to celebrate young Polish artistry with Klara Woskowiak, first prize winner ex aequo of the London Competition 2014. Klara is also the winner of the Slovenian International Harp Competition (2013), and a host of other prizes, collected throughout her studies in Poland with Ewa Jaslar, Paris with Isabelle Moretti and Geneviève Létang, London with Karen Vaughan, and now in Lausanne with Letizia Belmondo and Germaine Lorenzini. Klara will give a lunchtime solo recital, followed by a masterclass for school-age harp students.
On Sunday evening, we will move to the Alchemia club in the Kazimierz district for a concert by Tara Minton with guitarist Tristan McCoppin. Tara is no stranger to Harpblog's pages: we love her soulful and original mixture of jazz, folk and rock and roll, a fabulous ambassador for the blue harp.
Entry to all concerts and masterclasses is free. Please reserve your concert seats or masterclass participation by emailing email@example.com. You can also find all information about the festival in Polish on the Harp Days Facebook page.
On the harp making side, we will hold an exhibition throughout the festival, with a special 20% discount off all strings and accessories. It would be very helpful if you could preorder, so that we know what to bring with us. If you are interested in particular types of harps, it would also be great if you could tell us in advance, that we may plan the exhibition.
You can also book to have your Camac harp regulated, for free, by Camac's senior technician Enric De Anciola. For all exhibition special requests, pre-orders, and regulation bookings, please email firstname.lastname@example.org by March 9th.
We are very happy to be working with Agnieszka again, and hope to see as many of you as we can in Cracow!
The 5-4-3-2-1 countdown is underway for the Camac weekend in Cardiff, organized by our partners Telynau Vining and starting February 7th! Deborah Henson-Conant, who will be beamed across HUGE TV screens live from the US, has made a video with co-organiser Shelley Fairplay, in which you can hear all about the packed and varied programme. There'll be the webinar with DHC about arranging music, concerts with Ben Creighton-Griffiths and Shelley, masterclasses with Elinor Bennett and Eira Lynn Jones, orchestral repertoire, sound processing, and "Become A Harpist For A Day" for complete beginners - and you can also get your harp serviced for free by Enric.
Shelley's own concert, The Three Strands, is also a meeting of minds with Deborah Henson-Conant. Shelley developed it in the course of a programme where Deborah mentored her, and it's like a story of Shelley's journey in finding her own unique style as a musician. The concert combines many musical genres - Celtic, classical, flamenco, Doctor Who, Starwars - and “The Three Strands” refers to an age-old Celtic tale that each harper must master three musical strands in order to truly serve humanity. The details of each strand differ in every story. In Shelley’s version, they are the strands of passion, sorrow and joy. But in every tale, these strands are always played by a harpist, and they always encompass the human experience.
For more information and a full timetable, see here on Telynau Vining's website.
Telynau Vining, our partners in Wales, are holding a super harp weekend in Cardiff in February. We're really looking forward to going!
From a workshop for all levels by Eira Lynn Jones to hands-on sessions for complete beginners (Ben Creighton Griffiths, Shelley Fairplay); from orchestral playing for more advanced students (Valerie Aldrich-Smith) and technique classes with Elinor Bennett; from an introduction to looper pedals (Shelley), to a jazz workshop (Ben), to a lunchtime concert (Ben again) - this weekend has something for everyone! Finally, Deborah Henson-Conant will be live on video link from the USA.
Enric will be on hand to regulate your Camac harp for free throughout the weekend (subject to reservation), and there will be an extensive exhibition. Closing date for registration to all concerts and classes, and also to book regulations, is January 31st. For all further information, consult the brochure below.
Ayelet's String, our partners in Israel, are official sponsors of the Israel Harp Festival in Tel Aviv at the end of December. There will be three days of competitions, workshops and concerts, with free regulations from Ayelet's Nadav Konieczny for the winners in each competition category. Nadav will also be giving two technical workshops - one on regulation, the other on the construction of the harp.
Ayelet's String will also be exhibiting a substantial number of new pedal and lever harps at the event. Jakez will be there too, so don't hesitate to come and find him and Nadav on the stand, for all the answers to your harp questions!
Barbora Placha, director of Arpeggio, our partner in Prague, has been busy recently with the sponsorship of two events in the Czech republic. Firstly, we all greatly enjoyed the Prague Harp Festival, a collaboration with the Prague Conservatory and Music in the Heart of Prague. The festival programme succinctly presented of some of today's finest exponents of the harp's rich variety of styles: the classical virtuosity of Anneleen Lenaerts, Nikolaz Cadoret's exceptionally dynamic and creative lever harp playing, and Ben Creighton Griffiths - who many of you may remember as a child prodigy, now grown-up and making a name for himself as much as a jazz harpist as a concert artist. Arpeggio also held a harp exhibition, and Camac client service was represented by Enric, who regulated harps throughout the festival.
In addition to the magnificent CamacCam video snapshots of the festival, there are some better equally professional and beautiful photographs by Lukáš Jančin on Arpeggio's homepage.
Anneleen Lenaerts. Photo: Lukáš Jančin
Nikolaz Cadoret. Photo: Lukáš Jančin
Ben's foot. Photo: Lukáš Jančin
On November 29th, we are very happy to be back at Arpeggio's side for the First Music School Harp Competition, which will take place at Prague's Pálffy Palace at Malá Strana. Organized by the Biskupská Music School, twenty-two harpists between seven and twenty-six years of age will take part. They will have the chance to perform for an illustrious jury, including Barbora Pazourová from the Czech Philharmonic, Dagmar Platilová from the Prague Radio Symphony, Lydie Hartelová from the Prague Conservatory, A. Jahnová from Karlín Theater, and Mrs. Antalová from the Bratislava Radio Symphony Orchestra.
Arpeggio is offering a Bardic 27 harp as the first prize for the overall winner.
We wish all the young Czech and Moravian contestants the very best of luck. Toi toi toi!
Jakez François with the Atlantic Harp Duo. Photo: Jacqueline Molinié
As has become traditional over the last three years, the fearsome contender to the BBC that is CamacCam (i.e. us, with a camcorder) has been in Perpignan, documenting the festival's every move, cadence and burst of applause. In the video below, ignore the occasional shaky camera angle and dodgy transition, and feast your eyes and ears instead on the wonderful artists, talking about their programmes and their work in general.
As we explain on our new website, we particularly love to sponsor festivals, and indeed to organize them ourselves as well. At the heart of this is always our annual Camac festival, a kaleidoscope of our favourite things...
Between October 17th and 19th, 2014, our festival will take place at the Palais des Congrès in Perpignan. Together with the all-day exhibitions and harp services, we're looking forward to a stunning programme. Emma Wauters, Katrina Szederkényi and Anaïs Gaudemard, winners of some of the most important recent competitions (Godefroid, Szeged, Israel) will open the festival, in concert on Friday, October 17th. Anaïs Gaudemard, winner of the 2012 International Harp Contest in Israel, will give a masterclass, before the focus turns from classical to jazz, with a workshop with Marcella Carboni.
The festival's now trademark "Harpélidoskope" Saturday night concert will start classically, with the Atlantic Harp Duo. I say "start classically", but the Atlantic Harp Duo's programming is never exclusively classical. They interweave narrative, dance, poetry, images and all kinds of multimedia, to create fascinating stories that will leave you longing for more! They will be followed on Saturday night in Perpignan by Ameylia Saad's Trio Keynoad: Ameylia (lever harp, vocals), Christian Fromentin (violin, gheytchak and saz), and Nicola Marinoni (percussion). Describing their music as "world néoclassique", their programme is called "Moires et Mouvances", "Ripples and Circles", and is a musical journey from the island of La Réunion, across the Sahara, over the eastern Mediterranean, and towards the coastlines of the Celtic lands. Harpélidoskope will conclude with pop harp and jazz from Marcella Carboni and her harmonica duo partner, Max de Aloe. Marcella and Max have, incidentally, recently released their debut album - which you can find out about, and buy, here.
Sunday is a lever harp day, with a workshop and concert from Yvon Le Quellec and Michel Foulon. Their two-harp duo will traverse the Celtic lands and Celtic soundscapes: from Brittany, Ireland and Scotland, with flute, bagpipes and Yvon Le Quellec's original songs.
All concerts, workshops, masterclasses and harp services are entirely free of charge but are subject to individual reservation. To book your places, please email email@example.com, or call us in Mouzeil on +33 2 40 97 24 97.
We look forward to seeing you there!