OCTOBER ~ The Labyrinth Effect
As a freelance teacher I want to make a difference to players of all ages and levels beyond their lessons. My Labyrinth harp project was created with this in mind.
The first project has been to mentor a group not normally given a performance platform. I chose 4 players to be part of a collaboration at the Harp on Wight Festival. Each was invited after I met them online, when I was bowled over by their passion for the harp. A chartered psychologist, retired linguist, university student and a trainee Met detective worked diligently with me online. They pushed themselves towards new goals; they felt the fear and did it anyway.
Months of dedicated focus from them and patient encouragement from me led to us premiering new works for ensemble in the Opening Night of the Festival. Some had never played in a group before, others had never performed in public. It was quite a moment for us all. The reaction from the audience was heart-warming, and I couldn’t have been happier. With thanks to Andi, Maureen, Phoebe and Celia for trusting me and giving up so much of their time to do this.
My workshop participants at the Festival gave the premiere of an ensemble version of The Sunken Forest. We had three short rehearsals to get it ready. The deadline of a performance was a challenge they embraced fully. Celia narrated the story alongside, us and it all came together beautifully. Bravo to Peta, Maureen, Merlynna, Debbie, Felicity, Wendy and Angelica.
Are there future projects? Of course!! Get in touch if you want to know more.
SEPTEMBER ~ Back to the Harp
It is the start of the Orchestral Season, and I have plenty of repertoire on the music stand to prepare. Teaching timetables are in place and it’s lovely to get pupils motivated for the academic year ahead. We’ve set goals together and they are raring to go. Here is a check-list I prepared to get them harp ready!
I will be at my composition desk, working on an ensemble version of The Sunken Forest. The solo suite was premiered at the Edinburgh International Online Harp Festival in 2021. But my plan was always to add ensemble parts. And now that will be happening at the Harp on Wight International Harp Festival in October.
AUGUST ~ Looking Ahead
August is a quiet month for concerts, but busy with Autumn preparations. I am looking forward to returning to the Harp on Wight International Harp Festival to perform at the Opening Concert and to introduce my new Labyrinth Harp Ensemble ... watch this space for more info on them!
My Festival workshop will include a new ensemble version of The Sunken Forest Suite, which participants will perform with me in concert. Are you interested? Then have a look and sign-up. Open to mixed abilities — I guarantee it will be fun.
JULY ~ Harp Twins!
Playing at the Royal Albert Hall Proms is always the highlight of my season. This year I was performing with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, alongside Anneke Hodnett.
Don’t our matching Horngacher harps look wonderful!
JUNE ~ Come and Play
I have been covering Principal Harp work with the Hallé Orchestra, whilst Marie Leenhardt is on a short sabbatical. Lots of different music programmes to learn, so no time to be idle. I even got to use my troubadour harp for their Come and Play Concerts.
MAY ~ Summer Days
Thank you to HARP COLUMN for recommending my collection, Summer Days, as their top-pick of summertime solos. You can also order from The Harp Studio, or download directly from my shop. Go to my YouTube channel to hear the full set!
APRIL ~ EIHF
A flying visit to support the Edinburgh International Harp Festival as they try a new hybrid festival of online and in person events. Great to see Isobel Mieras again and to visit the Exhibition stands.
MARCH ~ Zooming In
Being able to work on Zoom means that I can deliver workshops to harpists all over the UK, and from further afield. It’s been a busy and enjoyable month. Amazing feedback too - thank you!
FEBRUARY ~ Flyways
I commissioned “Flyways”, a harp ensemble piece for mixed abilities, from Catherine Kontz for my Chetham's International Harp Festival in 2008. This updated 2022 version is a cross-border collaboration with harpists world-wide. Great to see so many harpists engaging with this project. The film will be released later this year.
JANUARY ~ Tremolo
Delighted to announce that I have been chosen as composer for Illumine Theatre’s audio drama, “Tremolo” written by Lisa Parry: released on all major podcasts. It is based on the dilemma of genetic testing and how a family copes with early onset familial Alzheimer’s disease. The sister, Gwenllian, plays the harp and is practising this piece during the play.
Director Zoë Waterman writes: "Lisa has allowed Eira to tell Gwenllian’s story through the music she plays, her relationship to that material and her connection with the harp - it provides a beautiful texture to the play and gives us the two siblings’ stories side by side, vibrating off each other, like the tremolo of the title."