It’s been a tough time for the team behind the WORLD HARP CONGRESS. The event is described as a homecoming for harpists and harp enthusiasts from across the world. This is one of those which, for many, is a once in a lifetime event, and it’s happening right on our doorstep. It is a really big deal and we all should be rightly proud of it coming to Wales.

The event was due to be staged this summer but sadly, due to the ongoing crisis, this won’t now be happening. After many plans and rescheduling, they have moved the whole event to 2022, when hopefully the world will be healed and ready for such a major spectacle.

Here’s the official message from the organising committee.

Following our recent announcement postponing the 2020 and 2021 Congress, we are delighted to announce that the 14th World Harp Congress will now take place between Saturday 23rd and Thursday 28th July 2022. Delegate registration and the Exhibition will open on Friday 22nd July at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. The following information has been collated and published to make the transition as smooth as possible for everyone involved:

It doesn’t mean there won’t be anything this year, they are planning to broadcast a series of online performances and Cardiff World Harp Congress related content in the Summer to whet the delegates appetite. This content will be hosted HERE so we suggest you keep an eye on this website for updates about this exclusive content which will be free for all existing delegate ticket holders to enjoy online.

The website will continue to carry this information and a link to the new sites. Facebook and Twitter accounts have simply been renamed to WHC2022 but if you were already following the WHC2020 and WHC2021 accounts you do not need to do anything to receive the 2022 news.

Earlier this year, Artistic Director for the congress, Catrin Finch, sent a message to delegates. You can also see the full announcement at the bottom of this page……

Catrin Finch

Although the congress is very much for delegates and members, we can all enjoy the arrival of this major celebration of the harp including a series of public concerts curated by Catrin Finch.

Sadly many of the planned concerts and recitals were cancelled, including the closing show. This was to celebrate the harp in both opera and ballet. Harpists from national opera and ballet companies were set to join internationally renowned artists including Sir Bryn Terfel, Alexander Boldachev, the six Royal Harpists and the WNO Orchestra.

The Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama was understandably thrilled that the 14th World Harp Congress will be held in the UK next year, following a successful bid to host the prestigious event in Cardiff. It seems so long ago that the bid announcement was made but like most events of this nature, organisation & planning time is what they need plenty of (perhaps not quite as much as they now have).

The bid was led by Catrin Finch, who will be the Artistic Director for the WORLD HARP CONGRESS, in partnership with the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, of which she is a Fellow and Artist-in-Residence.

Alice Giles, Hannah Stone, Catrin Finch & Caryl Thomas

With members from over 50 countries this triannual festival aims to promote harp music internationally with concerts, workshops and seminars embracing all aspects of harp music and performance. The previous congress was held in Hong Kong in 2017.

There was no on more delighted at the successful bid and announcement than the Congress Artistic Director and former Royal Harpist Catrin Finch. She said……

“I’m looking forward to welcoming international harpists to Wales, where we have a particular passion for the harp. Cardiff is a thriving and cosmopolitan capital city and will provide an ideal setting,”

Catrin Finch

“Today Cardiff regularly plays host to international cultural, political and sporting events, and we have wonderful venues in which to hold world class concerts, exhibitions and masterclasses, including the spectacular Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, which will be the host venue.

We particularly want to use this opportunity to reach out and engage young harpists and the wider harp community and connect them to this international  celebration of our instrument. I feel very privileged to be leading a wonderful, artistic team of internationally renowned harpists and colleagues, to deliver a truly memorable harp festival in 2020.”

Kathy Keinzle was Chairman of the Board of Directors of the World Harp Congress. She said……

“The World Harp Congress Board of Directors is delighted that our 14th Congress will be held in the vibrant city of Cardiff, Wales.”

Kathy Kienzle

“The tradition of music and the harp are very important to this city, making it an ideal location for our festival. We are so pleased that the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama will be hosting the Congress, and we know that the artistic team will plan an inspiring, world class event.”

It’s easy to see why the Congress Board of Directors chose Wales……

  • The harp is the only traditional instrument in Wales with an unbroken history up to the present day. It is also the instrument most often cited in Welsh literature through the ages and takes centre stage in many of Wales’ cultural events: there’s a harp category at the National Eisteddfod, and the harp accompanies traditional Welsh dances.
  • It’s not just a part of Wales’ history, Wales continues to develop and nurture an unsurpassable number of harpists, including Royal Harpists Catrin Finch, who was the first to take on the revived role, Hannah Stone, who is also a graduate of the Royal Welsh College, and the current title holder Alis Hughes who recently played at a reception at the British Ambassador’s Residence in Tokyo to celebrate the links between the UK and Japan.
  • There are more harps per capita in Wales than in any other country in the world – it really is the ‘Land of the Harp’. In Cardiff alone there are currently around 30 professional harpists and over 550 school children learning to play the harp.
  • Wales has its own special harp, Y Delyn Deires – the Triple Harp – which is still played today, and its own unique form of singing, Cerdd Dant, poetry sung to harp accompaniment.
  • Cardiff and Harp Festivals are synonymous: Cardiff has hosted two World Harp Festivals in the 1990s, the 7th European Harp Symposium in 2007 and the Lyon and Healy Awards at the Royal Welsh College in 2013 and many more events since.

No we ought to say, the 2022 World Harp Congress is a six day harp extravaganza with concerts, recitals, masterclasses, lectures and workshops. So yes, it is predominantly for the attendees. We will all however get to enjoy the atmosphere when the congress begins, and also take in some of the concerts being held across Cardiff at some incredible venues.

WORLD HARP CONGRESS 2022 is still a while away, but we’ll bring you full details of the public events as soon as they are made available.

Delegates can follow the online event through their site HERE. Or for the rest of us a visit to their FACEBOOK page is always a good place to start.

OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENT

It is with regret that we today announce that the 14th World Harp Congress will be postponed until the summer of 2022.

With uncertainty regarding Covid-19 and its effects on health, work and international travel, we have decided to make an early announcement to enable delegates to plan for 2022.

We appreciate that the majority of artists will need the summer of 2021 to catch up on significant work lost during this difficult period and we are aware that the extra cost of attending a conference next year might be financially difficult for many.

It is not an easy decision to make, especially as the Congress has already been postponed one year, but these are unprecedented times, and the wellbeing of our delegates must be the deciding factor. The Board of Directors of the World Harp Congress agree that postponing the Congress is the only feasible option and look forward to an even bigger and better Congress in 2022.

We can confirm the new dates will be July 22nd to 28th 2022, and it is hoped that the schedule will stay as close as possible to the original 2020 programme. We realise that some artists might wish to change their programme for 2022, and of course we will be mindful of this. There will also be an opportunity for new ideas to be put forward and new proposals to be considered.

We will keep in touch with you throughout this period via the website and social media and hope to connect with you all virtually in some way next summer. In the meantime, please stay safe and take care of yourselves.

The WHC2022 Team.

Caryl Thomas, Chair
Catrin Finch, Artistic Director
Stephen Burkitt-Harrington, Event Director

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