Leading up to the 13th World Harp Congress this July in Hong Kong, we’re talking with performers for the ever-popular WHC Focus on Youth showcase concerts. Check in each week as we present insights from these talented young artists.

Give us some background: when did you start playing, what’s your current age, and who do you study with?

“Never give up, try always again, it’s gonna be great if you give to yourself all the chances to reach your goals,” says Tjasha Gafner

I’m 17 and I started to play the harp 10 years ago. I have studied since 2012 with Letizia Belmondo.

Tell us about your WHC program. How did you choose your repertoire and what do you like about the music?

I really love Bach and I wanted to play one of his partitas. The Sarabanda e Toccata from Nino Rota is a piece with so much depth and solar character that I couldn’t play anything else. I had to play the last piece of Laurent Coulomb in a competition and was surprised to discover a great and interesting contemporary piece, that I’m glad to share.  I’m really happy to play all these pieces in Hong Kong, because they are near to what I am and what I love.

Have you ever attended a World Harp Congress?

Yes! I went to the WHC in Sydney three years ago. It was incredible, there were so many things to do! I had the chance to meet a lot of great harpists and to go to very interesting concerts. I specially remember the concert of Naoko Yoshino. It was so inspiring!

What’s the first thing you’re going to do when you get to Hong Kong?

Look around everywhere, run to the harps to play, and eat a great typical dinner.

Which harpist do you most admire, and why?

I most admire my professor, Letizia Belmondo. She’s a wonderful musician and woman. She’s so committed and passionate with everybody. She’s my model for music and also for life.

Which harpist are you most looking forward to meeting in person at the WHC?

Catrin Finch! I’ve heard many of her CDs and I am so excited to see and listen to her in real life!

What’s the most memorable musical performance you’e ever attended?

A concert from Ibrahim Maalouf, the atmosphere was crazy and all the musicians were awesome.

What’s your most memorable performing experience?

I had the chance to go on a tour for three weeks to play in eight concerts the Mozart concerto for flute and harp with the Bayerische Philharmonie Orchestra. We went to Germany, Switzerland and Austria. It was a wonderful and unforgettable experience with beautiful musicians.

What advice would you give a young student wanting to start harp?

Never give up, try always again, it’s gonna be great if you give to yourself all the chances to reach your goals.

What’s the best piece of advice someone has ever given you?

Listen! Don’t play over the limits of the harp, you don’t play only the harp. You play with a harp.

When you’re not playing the harp what do you like to do?

Read a lot of books, go to a concert with my friends, climb with my sister, and work a little bit for school, too.

What’s on your playlist?

Some classical music of course, but also a big rock playlist… Why not?

Finish this sentence: In 10 years I see myself…


To learn more about the World Harp Congress visit www.worldharpcongress.org.
To register for the 13th World Harp Congress July 7–13 2017 in Hong Kong, visit www.whc2017.org.


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The Harp Column Staff has been bringing you great editorial content, interviews, features, and reviews since 1993!

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