World Harp Congress, 2022 – UK adventures, part 3

It’s been an intensely packed last few weeks, lets try and get caught up! I’m writing this in the Leonardo da Vinci Airport, getting ready to fly to Croatia after 10 days in Italy. When I last wrote I was on the train to Cardiff, Wales, going to the World Harp Congress…

Just arrived at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, the main hub of the congress

The WHC is a once-every-three-years (normally!) gathering and extravaganza of harpists from all over the world. Six days of events in Cardiff, plus of course a vendor hall to take in (so many harps to try!). Weeks like this are always a little tricky, because there’s so much to hear, but it’s also easy for one’s ears and brain to get a bit exhausted with so much music!

I was there to perform the world premiere of my arrangement for septet (string quartet + clarinet and flute) of Bochsa’s Harp Concerto No. 1 in D minor. More on that here, but it’s been a longtime dream of mine to track down the music for this concerto and perform it.

My performance was part of the penultimate concert of the congress before the closing party/concert. Which of course meant that it was a large part of my focus throughout the congress – there’s an advantage to performing early in the week :)

In the end, it was a success! Only one rehearsal with the septet, which was a bit stressful as this was the first playing of my arrangement, but it all sounded as I hoped/expected. So happy to have achieved this “bucket list” performance. And I look forward to further performances of the concerto, whether as a septet or in its fully orchestrated original format!

One of the most interesting items in the exhibit hall was harp-e. I’d read about this a year or two ago via the Dutch Harp Festival, and it was really cool to see it in person.

I ended up doing a Harp Tuesday interview episode with Joris Beets, the inventor of harp-e. Take a watch here:

So much else going on during the week – here are a few photos.

Was a jam-packed week (with beautiful weather – low 20s). I then spent 3 days in London to explore a bit (and rest and recover) before boarding a flight to Italy! More on that next time…

Cheers,

Josh

(PS I loved getting a chance to hear in-person from so many of you at the congress who have found Harp Tuesday useful – thank you!)

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