2019 Conference

The Historical Harp Society’s 2019 conference will be held on Sunday, July 21, in conjunction with the Somerset Harp Festival.

Click here for information about 2019 presenters

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9:00 – 9:50 am – Ann Heyman – Gaelic Harps from the Mists of Time. Musical traditions, surviving instruments and iconography help to form a fresh interpretation of the early cl√°irseach and its development.

10:00 – 10:50 am – Nancy Hurrell – Tradition and Harp Innovation in the Nineteenth Century. John Egan revival wire-strung harps and notable players from the Dublin and Belfast Society schools coincide with a new iconic gut-strung Irish harp which shaped the future.

11:00 am – Somerset Folk Harp Festival Concert

12:45 – 1:45 pm – Paul Knoke – Why I Play the Single-Action Harp. A discourse on the unique repertory, technique and resources of the early pedal harp, including a masterclass as part of the presentation.

2:00 – 3:00 pm – Sarah Deere-Jones – Soft Angelic Whispers. The history of the Medieval harp in England. The harp has been present in England since at least the 10th century, and this lecture includes much of the beautiful and fascinating iconography that Sarah has collected over the past 20 years including stone and wood carvings, stained glass, wall art, illuminated manuscripts and graffiti. With the aid of the many references from household accounts, official registers and contemporary literature, Sarah reveals the role, status, and symbolic significance of the harp during the medieval period in England.

3:15 – 5:15 pm – Ron Cook – Traditional Middle Eastern Harp. This two hour workshop will explore solo performance traditions in the Middle East, particularly in the Middle Ages, and how those performance practices can be adapted to the early single-row harp. Topics will include Middle Eastern tuning traditions; the most common maqamat (Middle Eastern groupings of notes similar to modes) used in this music; the performance of taqasim, the most important genre of solo performance; and the use of ornamentation in solo performance. The workshop will accommodate harpists at all levels of experience, including those relatively new to the harp. Single-row harps of all sizes are welcome. [Workshop participants will experiment with various different tunings and maqamat and learn to perform a taqsim.]

5:30-7:00 pm – Complimentary Dinner and Annual General Meeting – members only

7:30 pm – Historical Harp Society Concert – featuring Ron Cook, Sarah Deere-Jones, Ann Heymann, Nancy Hurrell, Paul Knoke and Christa Patton followed by a conference-closing reception.