Following two rounds of competition that concluded on April 17, Rachel Clemente took home the Princess Margaret of the Isles Memorial Prize for Celtic Harp (North America) at the Scottish Arts Classic. Clemente, Stephanie Claussen, Abigail Kent, and Michelle Cobley were the four finalists chosen to participate in the second and final round of competition, judged by American Celtic harpist Kim Robertson and held at St. James Church in Charleston, S.C. The competition, organized by Clan Donald Lands Trust and named after Princess Margaret of Scotland, celebrated its fourth year in North America in 2021. Its sister competition of the same name was launched in 2018 and is held yearly at the Armadale Castle, Isle of Skye, U.K.
“I’m very proud and excited to have won first prize,” Clemente says. “I think that having a competition like this in the U.S. for professional lever harp players is so important for keeping Scottish traditional music on the clàrsach thriving. It was more like a showcase of the lever harp than a competition because each competitor brought his/her arranging and composition style to the stage.” Clemente holds a bachelor’s degree from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow. She won the title of U.S. National Scottish Harp Champion in 2016.