Beginners’ Workshop for Early Irish Harp at Fota House, Co. Cork
On Saturday 22nd September, the HHSI collaborated with East Cork Early Music Festival to provide a Beginners’ Taster Day for Early Irish Harp at Fota House in East Cork as part of the 2007 East Cork Early Music Festival. This highly regarded baroque music festival is at the forefront of bringing historically informed concert performances to Ireland so the HHSI was delighted to accept the invitation to present Ireland’s historical harp to a new audience with the help of an illustrated lecture and a ‘hands on’ workshop. Both the planned lecture and workshop took place in a very beautiful room with sensational plasterwork ceiling in the Regency-style building just east of Cork city.
The HHSI’s chair, Siobhán Armstrong, had an engaged and lively audience for her illustrated lecture and Q&A session on the history, repertoire and international travels of the early Irish harp with live music examples and visual images on an overhead projector. This was followed by a workshop for eight participants from Co. Cork and further afield, with a chance to play some of the HHSI’s unique collection of student facsimiles of surviving historic instruments. One of the participants even arrived fully armed with her own exquisite early Irish harp, a stunning carved and painted facsimile of the Scottish Queen Mary harp, built for her by Ireland’s newest and most exciting historical harp builder, Davy Patton, of Roscommon.
Audiences at ECEMF had a further chance to hear the unique sound of Ireland’s historical harp at a concert on Sunday 23rd September in which Siobhán Armstrong, together with festival director, Sarah Cunningham, bass viol, performed together with star Australian baroque violinist, Elizabeth Wallfisch and Ireland’s traditional fiddle virtuoso, Gerry O’Connor.
The HHSI would like to thank Sarah Cunningham and ECEMF, Fota House and all the participants for collaborating in this event.