27 March 2018

The fourth Wales International Harp Festival

Enjoy an extraordinary week celebrating the sound and diversity of the harp from April 1–7 at Galeri, Caernarfon. While this instrument is rich in Welsh tradition, it is also contemporary and global – and the Wales International Harp Festival will give a platform to all its aspects. Here are a few reasons why you should get involved to please your ears and eyes…

Celebrate a legendary Welsh harpist

Celebrate the 90th birthday of the legendary harpist, Dr. Osian Ellis CBE, and the enormous contribution he has made to music over seventy years. Osian Ellis was born in Ffynnongroyw, Flintshire in 1928. As well as being the Professor of the Harp at the Royal Academy of Music, Dr Ellis was for many years the Principal Harpist with the London Symphony Orchestra and was held in such high regard by Benjamin Britten, that he wrote his Harp Suite for him. The festival will include a special concert in celebration of his music, including the first performance of a collaborative new work created by the poet, Mererid Hopwood, and two of Wales’ most talented young women composers and harpists – Mared Emlyn and Gwenan Gibbard. Elinor Bennett, Festival Director and one of Osian’s former pupils, said: “Osian’s work has influenced generations of harpists and inspired many composers from Wales and beyond. He is the King of Harps.”

Witness world-class harpists

Isabelle Moretti standing by a harp.
Isabelle Moretti by Eric Larrayadieu
International harpists such as Valeria Voshchennikova from Russia and Isabelle Moretti from France will join over 100 harpists coming to Caernarfon to take part in celebrations, performances and competitions. Other countries represented will include Japan, Thailand, America, and of course, Wales. Seize this opportunity to experience the immersive, spine tingling spectacle of world-renowned virtuosos showcasing their skills right here in Wales.

Get hands on with a harp

Be a part of the action by joining a workshop, masterclass or listening session, whether you’re an absolute beginner or more experienced musician. You could embark on a musical journey with composer Geraint Lewis who’ll lead you through a listening of famous recordings by Osian Ellis, or thrum the strings for yourself in Hands on Harps (2 April, 4pm) with Catrin Morris Jones and Dylan Cernyw – and these are just a couple of the fun and engaging ways you can join in.

Experience the harp like never before

Benjamin Creighton-Griffiths playing a harp.

Benjamin Creighton-Griffiths by Benjamin Creighton-Griffiths
Exciting young harpist, Benjamin Creighton-Griffiths, will be showcasing the harp’s versatility with his funky, multi-genre approach. Coming to Caernarfon from Cardiff to play in the World Music Concert, he’ll also conduct a jazz workshop, as well as playing in one of the festival’s late-night slots. Benjamin has recently performed all over the world from Brazil to Hong Kong. His upcoming engagements include playing with New York jazz violinist Adrien Chevalier and singer Tatiana Eva Marie. His sessions in Caernarfon are a chance to experience the harp like you never have before, and get to see this in-demand performer before he hops on a plane once again. 

Explore the beautiful region of North Wales

The festival offers an excellent opportunity to learn, participate and enjoy harp music in one of the most beautiful regions of the UK – North Wales! Why not combine this opportunity to visit the harp festival with exploring the region? The festival venue, Galeri Arts Centre, is just outside Caernarfon castle walls, offering a heritage site alongside stunning sea views. And of course there’s the superb scenery beyond the town, whether mountains, lakes and waterfalls of Snowdonia or the fine beaches of Anglesey.

For more information on the festival programme and to book tickets, visit the Wales International Harp Festival website. To see what else is happening in Wales, head to our What’s On page.

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