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?

“When I do have time practicing the harp, it makes me feel at ease,” says China’s Zhan Ran.

I started studying harp at the age of 6, and I’m now 13 years old. I study with Ms. Wang Guan, Associate Professor at China Central Conservatory of Music (CCOM) and First Harp at China National Symphony Orchestra.

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

The three works I choose to play at WHC [are]Dussek Sonata C minor op.2, “La Source” op.23 and “Elegie pour la mort d’un berger.” [They] vary in style and taste —gracious, lively, or emotional. I view them as three beautiful pearls each with unique, irreplaceable characteristic, and I love them all.

Have you ever attended a World Harp Congress?

It’s my first time attending WHC. I believe it will offer completely new experience for me.

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

Taste some local foods, or maybe visit Disneyland, before visiting the site of WHC. [Then] choosing a fine harp and practicing for my performance.

Which harpist do you most admire?

Ms. Isabelle Perrin, who gave two wonderful masterclasses to me several years ago, and I really enjoyed her great performance in Beijing—expressive, emotional and powerful. Besides, she was very nice in person.

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

Ms. Dan Yu who teaches in Hong Kong. I [have]heard about her great performances but have never see her in person.

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

A concert by Ms. Catrin Finch during the harp festival in Singapore, 2015. It was refreshing and enlightening, revealing her unique style and strong dexterity.

What’s your most memorable performing experience?

The most memorable performing experience for me was at the grand concert of the 26th Nippon Harp Competition in Japan in 2014, immediately after I won the 1st Prize of the Junior Division. It was the first time I performed in a foreign country. I had a completely [new] experience throughout the whole event. I enjoyed the atmosphere there and played better than my performance at the competition.

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

Take good care of your fingers, for example avoid abrasion as a result of continuously playing for hours, so that your performance will sound better.

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

Ms. Wang Guan, my teacher, advised me to express the music by stringing the notes or accents in different sentences.

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

Read novels, watch cartoons, and play sport games including bicycle, roller skate, skateboard, and many more.

What’s on your playlist?

Music works of Joe Hisaishi, English modern songs, and some works of Mozart.

Finish this sentence: In 10 years I see myself…

…graduating from university and looking for a job that I don’t hate at all, such as being a translator or teacher.

Anything else you want Harp Column readers to know about you?

I began to attend six-year regular high school since last year, and have limited time playing harp on average days due to the heavy burden of school work. When I do have time practicing the harp, it makes me feel at ease. I may not become a professional harpist in the future, but playing harp will remain my hobby that makes me and people around me feel happier.

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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