Highlights from Harpes au Max


Harpes au Max, Camac Harp’s international harp festival, took place for the second time on May 17 – 20, 2018. Based in the harpmaker’s hometown of Ancenis and sponsored by the district of Ancenis, this festival promoted the harp in all its various forms as a way to celebrate the instrument’s diversity. From Celtic music to jazz combos, traditional Bavarian music, and the buzz-worthy pop duo Addi&Jacq, Harpes au Max was a testament to the range of the harp.

from L: Gregoire Maret (harmonica), Andrea Tierra (vocals), Jorge Glem (cuatro), and Edmar Castaneda (harp)

The Edmar Castaneda World Quartet is made up of musicians from Colombia, Venezuela, and Switzerland. They are world-famous for their ability to effortlessly fuse jazz with the beats of Latin America. Castaneda was featured in the Jan/Feb 2011 issue of Harp Column and is highly regarded for his virtuosic playing and intricate improvisations.


Charles Overton (second from the right) with Berklee harp professor Felice Pomeranz (far right) and members of his quartet

Another jazz ensemble was featured in the “Jazz in the Chapel” series, with concerts taking place at Ursuline Chapel. The Charles Overton Group, a Boston-based quartet, began in 2014 as a duo collaboration between Overton and drummer Peter Barnick, and later expanded to a quartet as a result of the Berklee Global Jazz Institute. Featuring Barnick, saxophonist Gregory Groover Jr., bassist Max Ridley, the ensemble hopes to offer a “fresh take” on the traditional jazz quartet.

JeanJeanne in performance

On Sat., May 19, the indie-rock group JeanJeanne shared a concert with the Edmar Castaneda World Quartet. Made up of singer Cristine Mérienne, harpists Nikolaz Cadoret and Alice Soria-Cadoret, and drummer Yvon Molard, JeanJeanne formed in 2015, and has been defying the pop-rock genre ever since.

from L: Felice Pomeranz, festival patron Isabelle Perrin, Isabelle Moretti, and Myriam Serfass

The Trinity Laban Ensemble, led by Trinity harp professor Gabriella Dall’Olio

One of the final programs on Sunday, May 18 was the Ensembles’ Concert, featuring Ensemble Harpes en LoireEnsemble HarporetumEnsemble LyraeEnsemble Son JoropoEnsemble Trinity Laban Harps and Ensemble Swinging Harp Sisters. This program featured harpists from all over the world, of all ages and levels.

Many student harp ensembles performed all around Ancenis over the course of the weekend.

Some non-performance events were organized, including a Celtic harp workshop led by Nikolaz Cadoret, a classical harp masterclass with Isabelle Perrin, and an introduction to the Bavarian harp with Moritz Demer. Below are images of a factory tour and a viewing of Jakez Francois’ historic harp collection at the Château d’Ancenis.

Many thanks to Felice Pomeranz for providing these photos. Please visit the Harpes au Max Facebook page for more photos.


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