Performance at Moscow’s Arfavita Harp Festival

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I’m just back from performing and teaching at the annual Arfavita Harp Festival in Moscow. It was remarkable to see the interest there, not only in Irish music, but particularly in the lever harp and the expansion of its repertoire, which is something close to my heart. It was especially heartening to witness the dissemination of music of harpists from Ireland, ranging from the published works of Michael Rooney to Dr Sheila Larchet Cuthbert, and including my own music too. The people I met in Moscow were so welcoming, warmhearted (and in such unbearably low temperatures!) and friendly as well as being incredibly hardworking. It was a marvellous experience to play the Bach Chromatic Fantasy BWV903 in my concert there at the Bulgakov Theatre, and since there were many harpists at the festival, some of whom had undertaken a 16-hour roundtrip by train to get there…) they really appreciated hearing this piece on lever harp. I was also very fortunate to be brought to the Central Music School where I met teachers and students and had a chance to chat about music and the teaching of children whose musicality develops at an early stage. It was topped off with a visit to the exquisitely beautiful Bolshoi Theatre and a walk along the Red Square and St Basil’s Cathedral followed by a hot bowl of borscht!  I’m so grateful for the warmth of welcome I received on my visit there and for the generous hospitality I given to me by Moscow’s harp community. Photo by Veronika Kirillenko.

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