We are organizing a new lever harp competition, at home in our native Brittany - Dasson an Delenn. It is open to student harpists under the age of twenty-one, and of all nationalities. The competition repertoire features set works and free choice at all levels - but should all be of Breton inspiration, be it traditional Breton music, music composed by Breton composers, or Breton arrangements for the harp. Note the .bzh on the end of the competition website address, www.dassonandelenn.bzh. This means "Breizh", "Brittany" in Breton: we had to apply for this www., and we're very proud to have been accepted.
The competition will take place on May 23rd and 24th, 2014, and applications are open from January 5th. There are four categories, from beginner to young professional standard. There's no minimum age for any category, and you are also allowed to enter multiple categories. Regarding the age limit, you should be no older than twenty-one on the day the competition begins. All works should be performed from memory.
The number of places is necessarily limited and the earlier you apply, the better your chances of being accepted. If you are more used to working towards a closing date, here it is important to note the opening one! Applications may be submitted online from January 5th, 2015.
We are very grateful to our partners in this project for their support: the Conservatoire de musique et de danse de Pontivy Communauté, Savarez Strings, the Pontivy Communauté and the Conseil Général du Morbihan.
All information, as well as online application, is available on the competition site. If you have trouble deciphering it, as we've done this one in French only, don't hesitate to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be glad to help you in English. You can also download the competition brochure below.
Grégory Cappoen has just released his debut CD: Du crépsucule à l'aurore, From Dusk to Dawn. It's a very personal musical journey, all original compositions. The disc also weaves a lightly chronological path through Grégory's own life, beginning with works he wrote a decade ago, and continuing from there. "The album is called "From Dusk to Dawn", Grégory explains, "because the time between the evening and the morning can be conducive to introspection and reflection. When I talk about this CD, I often describe a meditative pause, an internal journey", and reflecting back on one's own experience. That is because each composition is connected to an important moment in my own life.
Speaking of Janet Harbison - here's a great short video portrait about her, her work, and the Irish Harp Centre. Hear about music therapy, playing East Limerick polkas in China - and, in retrospect, the huge Brian Boru festival (or "absolutely mighty party", as Janet says) that took place in August. AND - at 9'10 - the story of how Janet and Joël Garnier designed her dream harp.
Créativ' Harp, the francophone Swiss association led by Céline Gay des Combes and Elodie Wulliens, is holding an Irish Harp Weekend in Vevey, in the late autumn. Janet Harbison, doyenne of the Irish harp and our inspiration for the harp we named after her, will hold a course of group lever harp masterclasses between November 7th - 9th.
Students will also have the chance to share the stage with Janet, forming a harp orchestra to accompany her at the course closing concert in Clé-de Voûte, November 9th at 5PM.
Janet and harp orchestras are no strangers to each other - her ensemble The Irish Harp Orchestra is famous throughout the world, so you couldn't ask for a better ensemble-playing chance.
If the thought of performing in concert with Janet Harbison makes you feel thrilled but also - well, terrified, don't panic. The course is suitable for all levels, and the part you play in the final concert is guaranteed to be one you will also enjoy!
The deadline for inscriptions is September 15th, 2014. Download the application form below for more information.
Applications are now invited for the 7th Camac Lever Harp Trophy, as part of the Festival Interceltique de Lorient. This famous festival takes place every summer: this year, it starts on August 1st, and the Camac Trophy will be on the final day - August 10th - at 3PM.
The competition is open to all, has no age limit, the closing date is July 20th - and the first prize is an Aziliz harp!
To apply, please download the forms below. Good luck!
On the subject of articles in other publications, Jakez is interviewed in Didier Saimpaul's lever harp magazine, Harpes Mag. This interview is about our levers, which we are proud to say are the choice of independent artisan harp makers all over the world.
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
Photo : Lionel Coste
We’re currently at the Dutch Harp Festival, which looks both back to the harp’s earliest beginnings in the hands of story-telling bards, and ahead to our instrument’s future. It’s apposite that our Camac Voice for March is also a fusion of old and new: Maestral, a new Celto-jazz combo from Brittany.
Maestral consists of Anne Postic (lever harp), Pierre-Antoine Colas (trumpet), Stéphane Goasguen (bass) and Herri Loquet (rhythm/percussion). Based on jazz and Breton traditional music, their quartet also brings other Celtic, Latin, Arab, classical and contemporary sounds into the mix. The effect is like a bustling musical harbour, always with different ships in port or setting sail.
“We all live in Brittany now, in Brest and in Landerneau, but we have all pursued different paths, and come from very diverse musical backgrounds”, Anne explains. “Pierre-Antoinne Colas (trumpet) is originally from Charente-Maritime. He’s classically-trained, has played with many rock groups – Merzhin, for example – and has been particularly interested in jazz and Latin music for a long time. Stéphane Goasguen (double bass) comes from Brest, but was long based in Paris. He also has a classical background, working with well-known orchestras such as the Paris opera and the Orchestre de Paris/Wolfgang Sawallish, the Orchestre de Lille/Jean-Claude Casadesus, Orchestre Nationale du Capitole de Toulouse, Orchestre de Bretagne, etc. He is also an active chamber musician, most notably with the Matheus ensemble. Herri Loquet (percussion, drums) is also from Brest, and studied snare drum in Scotland. He performs and teaches traditional music, and leads a snare drum ensemble. He also plays in rock groups, and in French chanson bands. As for me, I’m from the Breton east coast and I’ve long been passionate about traditional music, especially Breton, Scottish and Irish music. Nonetheless, I have always been interested in other musical styles, such as classical music, contemporary music, and jazz. Maestral is a human encounter first. From this fact, our music is a meeting of our worlds and our backgrounds.