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Harping on in Cardiff: The European Harp Competition and Harp Symposium, Cardiff July 18th to 28th 2007 (MS)

The European Harp Competition, Cardiff July 18th-23rd.

The European Harp Symposium, Cardiff July 22nd -28th.

Famous for harp playing in its own right, Wales hosts two important events for the instrument in Cardiff during July. The competition involves contestants from 17 European countries competing to win  a £20,000 harp especially made for the competition in Italy. The main final is at the Coal Exchange at 8pm on July 23 and there are also two junior events with finals on Sat June 21st at the School of Music at the University.

Appropriately, there are Welsh contestants in all three of the levels of competition including an 11 year old Cardiff boy. The contestants arrive on the 16th and 17th and there is a welcome party at the RWCMD. In addition to  the £20,000 harp for the main competition winner, cash prizes are awarded to  for the other winners and runners-up.

The European Harp Symposium is possibly the largest event of its kind in the world and takes over the whole of Wales Millennium Centre. Highlights include the whole of Sunday, July 22 when there are two concerts in the foyer involving 100 harps (
4.30pm and 7.30pm.)

At 5.30pm on the same day, an amazing Gala Concert takes place in the Donald Gordon Theatre at WMC featuring  prominent harpists, including the three past and present Royal Harpists, and with other artists such as Shan Cothi and 'Only Men Aloud,' included, this is very much a concert for all tastes. There will be a  harp-flavoured concert as part of the Welsh Proms at St David’s Hall on Tuesday, July 24 and a Jazz Concert takes place at City Hall on Thursday, July 26 ( 8pm) with jazz players and Catrin Finch.

On the fun side there are chances for anyone to try their hand (s)  at harping  with four days of Hands on Harp sessions in the Horizon Bar at WMC (one of the bars immediately behind the lettered windows). These are at 11.30am - 2.30pm
Mon July23 and Wed July 25 and at 11.30am- 12,30pm on Tuesday July 23 and Thursday, July 26.

As a prelude to these important events, school visits including one to Ninian Park Junior on July 11th will take places with a professional harpist giving children a foretaste of the festival.

All tickets for concerts at Wales Millennium Centre including the July 22 Gala Concert and the Harp Jazz concert at  City Hall, Cardiff on July 26 can be booked on 08700 40 2000 and at www.wmc.org.uk.

Concerts at St David's Hall, including the Harp Prom with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales can be booked on www.stdavidshallcardiff.co.uk or  by calling 029 2087 8444

Mike Smith

Mike Smith can be contacted for more information about the two events at Mediasmith, Tel: 029 2046 2686 or by emailing mike@mediasmith.co.uk

The European Harp Symposium web site (including details of the competition is Here

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, one of the longest established live music review web sites on the Internet, publishes original reviews of recitals, concerts and opera performances from the UK and internationally. We update often, and sometimes daily, to bring you fast reviews, each of which offers a breadth of knowledge and attention to performance detail that is sometimes difficult for readers to find elsewhere.

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