The WORLD HARP CONGRESS is 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, happening right on our doorstep. It is a really big deal and we all should be rightly proud of.

The event was due to be staged this summer but sadly, due to the ongoing crisis this won’t now be happening. The good news is, the event is to come here next year. Here’s the official message from the organising committee.

Due to the ongoing Covid-19 Coronavirus pandemic, it is with great regret that we have today taken the decision to postpone the 14th World Harp Congress due to take place in Cardiff this July. All performance venues have been closed until further notice following UK and Welsh Government advice.

As we are uncertain as to when the situation will change, we have decided to make an early announcement that will allow you, our delegates, performers, volunteers, exhibitors, and sponsors, as much time as possible to change travel and accommodation plans.

There will be a considerable amount of work involved in rescheduling the Congress and we ask for your patience and cooperation through this process. We have provisionally secured alternative dates with our venues in the Summer of 2021 that will enable a straightforward postponement whilst maintaining this year’s performance schedule as closely as possible. More details will be posted in the coming days on all our platforms and we hope to release the new dates in the next few weeks.

Consequently, we will be making all tickets and delegate passes already purchased for the 2020 event, eligible for transfer to the new dates in 2021, and the Early Bird Ticket Discount Deadline will be extended until 1 st April 2021.

The welfare of our community of artists, volunteers and audiences is our priority throughout this time of uncertainty, and the decision has not been made easily. We are aware that many of you will have already incurred travel costs, and we hope that by making this decision in good time, you will be able to re-arrange flights and hotels for 2021 without any financial implications.

Due to the current workload and local isolation restrictions in the UK, we would be grateful if you do not try and contact us until the new dates are advertised.

We thank you for your support and patience while we work through the finer details, and on behalf of The 14th World Harp Congress Organising Committee, we wish you all well, and look forward to welcoming you to Wales in 2021.

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

So, this is our original story for the vent and we don’t see any reason why we can’t enjoy and look forward to what’s in store next year.

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.

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.”

Here’s a look at the launch video for the Congress…….

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 2020 (now 2021) 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 these incredible venues.

These are the venues where the Congress will be based…….

WORLD HARP CONGRESS 2021 is here next year and we will bring you full details of the public events as soon as they are made available.


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