People vary in the extent to which they relish competitions. Having been useless at them myself, I regard their winners with great admiration and awe, and I also really feel for everyone who gets thrown out. I promise you that in the fullness of time it will cease to matter, but it's always very hard at the time.
A wise course of action in the bloody aftermath of first round results is to join Germaine Lorenzini for a cigarette in the fresh air, and this was where I found myself at the last Cité des Arts competition. "It's a horrible process sometimes, isn't it", I said, mournfully. "Of course it's a horrible process", said Germaine, "but we have no other solution. You can't achieve the constructive aspects of a competition in any other way. There's no better way to push your level, train your nerves, handle pressure. So we have to keep doing them."
And so, as we explain in the sponsoring section of camas-harps.com, we keep doing competitions. They are important, and to win one is an incredible achievement which should be celebrated far and wide. Nonetheless, festivals are more fun.
We have just returned from the Second Cracow Harp Days, and they have been a perfect example of why we love festivals. Interesting, diverse, and warm, organised in friendship and with a passion for the harp and the artists who play it, the weekend was a joy from start to finish.
We began with a celebration of young Polish talent: a lunchtime recital by Klara Woskowiak, co-winner of the Camac competition in London in 2014. If you were unlucky enough to miss it, you can enjoy a film of the entire concert on TV Zaprasza, one of the festival's national patrons.