Today’s post is by pedal harpist and RCS lecturer, Sharron Griffiths. In this post, Sharron shares her journey with the pedal harp and highlights all the festival has to offer from this wonderful instrument.

Sharron GriffithsI am very excited to have joined the artistic team as the pedal harp representative for the 2016 Edinburgh International Harp Festival. Our aim is to bring more attention to the ‘big sister’ of the clarsach over the course of this fantastic festival, that has over the years seen many concerts and workshops from renowned pedal harpists spanning many genres and nationalities. Here in Scotland, there is an ever growing population of pedal harpists and this is a great opportunity for us to become more involved in such an established harp Festival right on our doorsteps.

So what can the 2016 festival offer pedal harpists?

This year, we are extremely pleased to welcome as the distinguished guest, the influential Welsh harpist and teacher, Elinor Bennett. I have had the honour of knowing Elinor from the tender age of 10, learning the harp in Wales, attending many of her harp festivals and courses. I remember being awestruck as a young child on hearing her play both in concert and recordings, and was fortunate to progress on to becoming one of her students.

Elinor BennettElinor will be performing in a solo concert on the 3rd April at 3pm and as part of the evening concert, Extravia-Cambria. We will also get to watch her teaching skills in the harp Masterclass on Monday 4th at 10:30am, in which we will see her teach students from an early age to those studying at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland on both pedal harp and clarsach. Elinor is also available to take private lesson on the Saturday and Sunday.

I will be taking the pedal harp 5 day course, which will include many different skills in harp technique and extended harp techniques, along with lessons on current repertoire and efficient harp practise techniques. It should be a fun way to extend your harp playing further!

The festival also has a great number of harp exhibitors, who will have a number of pedal harps on show for you to try out and a wealth of sheet music for you to peruse!

Sharron will be directing the Royal Conservatorie of Scotland Harp Ensemble in concert at the festival on Wednesday 6 April at 3:00pm.