Harp Summer School 2018
In recent years, one of the stand-out events of the Glasbury Arts programme has been the Harp Summer School, which this year returns for a seventh outing.
Once again, the summer school will offer workshops and masterclasses for up to 30 young people and adults to help improve their harp playing in a range of genres, with special emphasis on innovative technique development. The school will be led by renowned harpists and tutors including the Summer School’s Director of Music Harriet Earis (jazz/fusion harp and improvisation); Eleanor Turner (classical harp), and Adriano Sangineto (Itallian folk and continental dance music). In addition, traditional Welsh harpist and singer Gwenan Gibbard will be joining the school on Friday, August 31 to provide a Masterclass and Recital.
Workshops and classes will be run over the four days with rehearsals on the final day, culminating in a concert featuring the students and teachers. On Thursday 30 August there will also be a live “jamming session” at the River Café for older students who want to join in. Harriet believes that part of the appeal to harpists is the opportunity the summer school presents to play with people who share their passion.
“The harp can be a solitary instrument so it’s lovely to have the chance to play with other harpists, to make friends and socialise with people who share your passion. Even in an orchestra there are only ever two harps, so it’s lovely to play with so many – the final concert has seen as many as 40 harpists on stage together. “And Glasbury Arts’ summer school is fantastic – so well organised and very friendly with a lovely atmosphere. With so many participants coming back year after year, it’s become a group of old friends – it’s obviously doing something right.”
One Glasbury Arts Harp School participant, 18-year-old Gareth Swindail, who has played the harp for more than ten years, is sure that the Summer School played a major part in encouraging his passion for the instrument. “If I hadn’t gone, “ he says, “I’d probably have given it up. Even on the first day of the school in 2015 I went home thinking I was not going back – the girls in the group were much better than me, and I started an email to say I couldn’t do it. I read over the email and thought ‘I can’t send this’ so I went on the second day and loved it. It really gave my playing a boost and I’ve been loving the harp ever since." What’s especially good, says Gareth, is the different kinds of music the tutors work with. “Grades concentrate on the same sort of pieces, over and over again. But when it came to Glasbury, we were playing completely different genres of music and it was absolutely fantastic! I’d recommend it to anyone. It inspired me to continue with the harp and I have no doubt it would inspire a lot of people. It’s a breath of fresh air amidst the grades. Previous Summer School participants have ranged in age from seven to over 70, with experience from Grade 2 upwards.
Glasbury Arts Harp Summer School runs from Wednesday, August 29 to Saturday, September 1.
On the final day of the school, Saturday, September 1, students and tutors will come together, as they have in previous years, to present the Summer School concert, an opportunity to discover the fabulous range of music played on the harp. The concert takes place at Gwernyfed High School at 3.30pm.
Harp Summer School Ticket prices: Summer School, £190 (full price adults); £140 (adult concessions); £90 (in full time education) including tea/coffee/soft drinks throughout. 10% discount for Glasbury Arts Members.
Glasbury Arts Harp Summer School is supported by Community Foundation, Lady Llanover Trust and Gwernyfed Community Council.