—by Rebekah Atkinson
Set in the Southern charm and unique culture of New Orleans, LA, the 41st American Harp Society National Conference will be an exciting, Mardi-Gras themed celebration of the harp and harp music that you won’t want to miss! Here are a few of the many opportunities that this affordable conference offers:
Masterclasses, Workshops, and Presentations will be available on subjects all harpists want to learn more about, including improvisation, arranging, pedagogy, step-by-step harp theory, the language of jazz, and therapeutic music. Relevant issues for today such as harp programs in schools, teaching in the 21st century, composing, and arranging for ensemble groups will be addressed by seasoned musicians such as the Chicago Harp Quartet. Conference attendees will also have the option to participate in master-classes taught by renowned artists Ann Yeung, Elzbieta Szmyt, Emily Mitchell, Baltazar Juarez.
Harp Ensemble is a rewarding activity which many harpists cannot easily participate in at home, but every harpist will have the opportunity to join an ensemble at this conference! There will be four different ensembles led by highly qualified directors such as Dickie Fleischer. The final day of the conference will conclude with an “en mass” harp ensemble which will seek to break the world record for the number of harps in performance at one time, playing the world premier of “Atchafalaya” (the song of swamp frogs) by Louisiana harpist/composer Kimberly Houser!
Beautiful Recitals and Concerts will be plentiful at this conference! Attendees will gain exposure to works of all genres including classical, jazz, and world premiers of new pieces on solo harp and in various chamber group settings. World class performers will include Mexican harpist Baltazar Jaurez, Carol Robbins, Park Stickney, Riza Printup, Deborah Henson-Conant, and Heidi Van Hoesen Gorton. On the final evening, Harp Carnivale will be hosting a formal Mardi Gras Ball Orchestral Gala, showcasing four harp concertos and a harp symphony with members of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra!
Further activities include the Anne Adams Awards, a student harp ensemble contest, harp exhibits, shopping with all kinds of harp-related merchandise, and even a photo booth for publicity photos! Attendees will be sure to enjoy networking with other harpists from all over the world while experiencing firsthand the cuisine and culture of New Orleans! Find out more at (www.ahsconference.org) and