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Everything in alignment: Camac Harp Days at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance.

As the summer begins, we will head for London! More precisely, to Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance for the Camac Harp Days in conjunction with their departmental open day.  Professor of harp Gabriella Dall’Olio welcomes us to the school which is situated in the magnificent environs of the Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich. 

The impetus of this exciting sequence of events came about quite spontaneously, when two friends and great artists of the harp world were discussing the possibility of getting together: “I was sending messages to-and-fro with Isabelle, and she expressed how she hoped the universe would “align itself”  so  that we could see each other’ Laughs Gabriella ‘and I said “would you like to do a masterclass for the students [at Trinity Laban]?” and she said “YES!”- and then I said, would you also like to do a concert? To which Isabelle said -YES!”

Gabriella Dall'Olio

Gabriella Dall’Olio

At the same time, Gabriella had also been sharing with our President Jakez François details of Trinity Laban’s Daryl Runswick Competition for Composers which had in its make-up an element based around composition for the school’s Big Blue harp; ‘writing for amplified harps and an exceptional electroacoustic instrument like the big blue is great [for composers] in that they can explore the contrasts and interplay of the electronic and acoustic elements

So I talked to Jakez, and asked if we could also combine these things with an exhibition of Camac harps as we did many times’ Gabriella is of course referring to the Trinity Camac Harp days (which took place in 2006, 2007 and 2009), which were such happy collaborations: ‘They were amazing opportunities and successful days and we created new friendships and it was very exciting’ We are hugely grateful that throughout proceedings, Telynau Vining, Camac’s representative in the UK and Ireland, will provide an exhibition of Camac harps for all to try, eliminating the logistical headache of transporting an exhibition from France!

‘We also realised that the dates on which Isabelle was free lined up with Trinity Laban’s  open day so it seemed an excellent idea combined the festival- all by chance, and all adding up little by little!’

On Sunday 23 June, eager students of the harp have the chance to take part in a masterclass with Gabriella and experience her inspirational teaching. 

The day will then close with an unmissable recital by Isabelle Moretti. The following afternoon, whilst we are all still reeling from her artistry on the stage, Isabelle will work with Trinity Laban students in a public masterclass, open to all.

Isabelle Moretti

Isabelle Moretti

But the programme is not merely limited to modern classical performance: visitors to the harp days can also get a taste of the early harp scene with Trinity Alumna and early harp specialist Aileen Henry.  

‘When I started as head of harp in 2005, I immediately began working with Frances Kelly (formerly instructor of early harp at Trinity Laban) and of course Aileen Henry is one of our success stories. I think Early harp is incredibly important not only for learning historical  performance practice, but as the basis for all interpretation, what we do and why, and where we come from; harmony, the structure of music, rhetorical elements, pulse, tempi and improvisation.’It might seem that what Gabriella calls the baroque phenomenon of the ‘composer-performer-improviser’ has disappeared somewhat from the classical sphere. However, these concepts are certainly embodied by performers in the popular/jazz arena, which is yet another important feature of the harp days.

Tara Minton, Photo: ©Tatiana Gorilovsky

Tara Minton, Photo: ©Tatiana Gorilovsky

 Jazz Harpist Felice Pomeranz will put us through our paces in her Rhythm Bootcamp! Felice  is a doctoral candidate at Trinity Laban, in addition to her high profile as a jazz performer and an instructor at the Berklee School of Music (Boston, USA):‘When Felice offered her workshop on Rhythm, I jumped at it. Rhythm and pulse is so important for harpists, especially for our romantic repertoire… it’s important to work so  that we don’t manipulate these elements at random !’

Felice Pomeranz

Felice Pomeranz

On Monday 24 June, students from the harp class at Trinity Laban will perform solos and chamber music in a showcase of the work they do at the school. That evening, the  whole event will be rounded off with the delicious harp and vocals of Tara Minton (with John Williamson on bass). Tara is of course a great friend of Camac and well known to all… hard to imagine a better way of closing such a magnificent array of harp events! 

In order to register for any or all events, which are all free but depending on availability, please contact head of harp Gabriella Dall’Olio ([email protected])

We are very  much look forward to seeing you there!


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