2015 Presenters will be announced January 1, 2015:
Here's who we had last year

  Rhett Barnwell
  Debbie Brewin-Wilson
  Cynthia Cathcart
  Mike Connors
  Stephanie Curcio
  Jaque Davison
  Sarah Deere-Jones
  Brenda Dor-Groot
  Edie Elkan
  Gloria Galante
  Martha Gallagher
  Melinda Gardiner
  Maeve Gilchrist
  Gerald Goodman
  Robbin Gordon-Cartier
  Dennis Gormley
  Rachel Hair
  Gráinne Hambly
  Therese Honey
  Nancy Hurrell
  William Jackson
  Liza Jensen
  Kathy Kasley
  Beth Kollé
  Lynne Lapidus
  Sabine Meijers
  Sam Milligan
  Alfredo Rolando Ortiz
  Ray Pool
  Meg Robinson
  Kim Robertson
  Gerry Serviente
  Maureena Spadaro
  Sunita Staneslow
  Tomoko Sugawara
  Sharon Thormahlen
  Clotilde Trouillaud
  Dennis Waring
  Karla Williams


Can't make it to Somerset?
Harpers' Escape Weekend
October 2-4, 2015
Presenters       Hair > Kollé

Rachel Hair

rachel hair

creative scotland logostarfish harps logoRachel's appearance is funded in part by Creative Scotland and Starfish Harps.

Coming from a small village in the Scottish Highlands and now settled in cosmopolitan Glasgow reflects the trajectory of Rachel Hair's musical development. Steeped in traditional music yet highly contemporary when she wants to be! She started playing clarsach at 10 and grew up in Scotland's Fèis movement, a network of Gaelic-based traditional music schools across the Highlands and Islands with musical mentors like Allison Kinnaird, Corrina Hewat, Bill Taylor, and Wendy Stewart. Rachel now tours for a greater part of the year and spends quite a bit of time teaching harp on the Isle of Man and is involved in the Manx folk revival there. In her Rachel Hair Trio, which was nominated as Folk Band of the Year at the 2011 Scots Trad Music Awards, she teams up with singer/guitarist Jenn Butterworth and double bassist Euan Burton for a decidedly jazzy take on traditional music and a healthy dose of new compositions. She has 3 CDs to her credit as well as 2 music books, Mostly Scottish Harp Vol. 1 and Vol. 2.

Presenter website: Rachel Hair

Celtic Connections
Level: Any Type: Hands On When: Fri. 9:30am  More Info

Snappy Strathspeys
Level: Int-Adv Type: Hands-on When: Sat. 1:30pm More Info

Manx Music: an introduction
Level: Beg. Type: Hands-on When: Fri. 1:30pm More Info

Manx Traditional Dance Music
Level: Int Type: Hands-on When: Sun. 9am More Info

Gráinne Hambly

grainneIn Zen Guitar, the author talks about finding the silence between the notes. Even when playing a reel full stop, Gráinne Hambly, exhibits such poise, authority and skill that every note has its moment giving her music a depth that is hard to describe. Velvet wrapped around steel, might get close! Her style of playing and her accompaniments while firmly traditional, incorporate and celebrate contemporary rhythms with amazing dexterity and flawless taste. Her accomplishments are many. She is popular in many countries and she tours around the world, has three solo CDs, two music books and two CDs with William Jackson. With a master's degree from Queens University in Belfast and years of workshop experience, her teaching skills match her playing; she is patient, clear, and sharp-eyed. She teaches at most of the major summer schools in Ireland and is in much demand here when she's on tour. She is also on staff at You Gotta Have Harp's Harpers' Escape Weekend. For the advancing student, eager to take on challenges, (warning: she makes it look easy!) Gráinne is a great choice.

Presenter website: Gráinne Hambly

The Carolan Marathon
Level: Any Type: Hands On When: Sat. 3:30pm   More Info

Irish Christmas Music
Level: Int Type: Hands-on When: Sat. 9:30am More Info

From Scotland to Ireland
Level: Any Type: Hands-on When: Thurs. 3-4:30pm More Info

Irish Slow Airs
Level: Int-Adv. Type: Hands-on When: Fri. 1:30pm More Info

Therese Honey

grainneAn early fascination with the harp, deepened into a focus on Medieval and Renaissance harp after an encounter with early music at a Historical Harp Society Conference. Drawing from such diverse sources as the music of Hildegard von Bingen and the Faenza Codex, Therese also plays Renaissance vocal and dance music and continuo with Baroque ensembles. Superbly well-informed as well as having an intuitive feel for the music of the period, Therese Honey’s performances, utilizing historical harps appropriate to the music, evoke ‘another time and place’ with ‘entrancing virtuosity’. A dynamic teacher, Therese inspires and motivates her students to learn more about the harp, its technique, repertoire and history. She performs & records with the Texas Early Music Project in Austin, Texas and tours with Istanpitta; she has also has recorded solo CDs and published several harp books.

Presenter website: Therese Honey

Compose a Medieval Estampie
Level: Any Type: Hands-on When: Fri. 3:30pm   More Info

Damping & Harmonics
Level: Any Type: Hands-On When: Fri. 1:30pm   More Info

Left Hand Toolbox
Level: Any Type: Hands On When: Sat. 3:30pm   More Info

Renaissance Improvisation
Level: Any Type: Hands On When: Sun. 9am   More Info

Nancy Hurrell

We're delighted to have Nancy back at the festival this year. Although Nancy Hurrell is proficient in a wide variety of musical genres from classical and popular, to Celtic and early music, it is her expertise and devotion to the study of historical harps that is a distinguishing feature of her impressive career. Whether as the harp consultant for the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston or guest curator for ‘The Harp’, a major exhibition at MoMM in California or as an expert on Egan Irish harps who has lectured at the Royal Irish Academy (Dublin) and published articles in History Ireland magazine, Nancy is fully engaged in the historical harp world. She performs in several Boston early music ensembles and recently played medieval harp in Hildegard’s 12th century play, Ordo Virtutum. Her CD Baletto, features early dance music, and a new ensemble recording is Turlough O’Carolan-A Life in Song. Nancy has 5 books of arrangements, including her Historical Harp Collections of early music. Take advantage of her expertise while you're here at Somerset.

Presenter website: Nancy Hurrell

Alleluya! Medieval Sacred Music
Level: Any Type: Hands-on When: Fri. 1:30pm   More Info

Baroque Folk! Arranging Carolan Tunes
Level: Int-Adv. Type: Hands On When: Sat. 1:30pm   More Info

History of the Irish Harp via Travels of a Harp Detective
Level: Any Type: Lecture When: Sun. 9am   More Info

Sizzling Spanish Dances
Level: Int-Adv. Type: Hands On When: Sat. 9:30am   More Info

William Jackson

william jacksonSimply listing William Jackson’s achievements, as musician, performer and composer can’t come close to capturing the brilliant spirit, musical intelligence, dry wit, and sympathy that he brings to every instrument he plays, piece he composes and class he teaches. Although the harp is his primary instrument, Billy’s knowledge and experience allows him to move comfortably from the bouzouki to the tin whistle. In 1976 he was a founding member of Ossian, a breakthrough Scottish band. His richly woven and bold compositions, The Wellpark Suite, St. Mungo, Inchcolm, and A Scottish Island, reveal him as a master of orchestration with a sensitivity to contemporary tastes and the traditional idiom. In 1999 his composition 'Corryvreckan' from the album Inchcolm was included on Fiona Ritchie's favourites collection, "The Best of The Thistle & Shamrock, Volume 1." More recently he composed “Fantasia on Scottish Themes” for the Asheville Symphony Orchestra” in North Carolina. He is now living in Ireland. His 2009 CD with Grainne Hambly debuted at Somerset. Besides many CDs he also has one book, Scottish Traditional Music, complementary to the CD The Ancient Harp of Scotland. In 2008 he joined the staff at You Gotta Have Harp's Harpers' Escape Weekend.

Presenter website: William Jackson

Accompanying Other Instruments
Level: Any Type: Hands-on When: Fri. 3:30pm More Info

Ancient Prayers and Blessings from the Hebrides
Level: Int Type: Hands-on When: Fri. 9:30am  More Info

Pipe Up!
Level: Any Type: Hands-on When: Thurs. 1-2:30pm More Info

Using the Small Harp in Music Therapy
Level: Any Type: Lecture/Demo When: Sat. 1:30pm More Info

Lisa Jensen

lisa jensenLiza has studied harp maintenance and mechanics privately under the tutelage of master harp builders Pat Dougal and John Pratt. She has worked out in California with Triplett Harps and is a warranty repair service for their company. She is the only American woman to be invited by Jakez Francois, president of Camac Harps, the most innovative harp manufacturer in the world, to become a warranty repair service for their company.

Liza will be doing harp regulation and string changing at the festival by appointment. You can contact her in advance at lizacjensen@gmail.com or call her at 917-696-5974

DIY Harp Maintenance & Troubleshooting
Level: Any. Type: Hands-on When: Fri. & Sat. 11:15am-noon   More Info

Kathy Kasley

kathy kasleyKathy Kasley is a certified U.S. Water Fitness Association instructor, and has been teaching water exercise in the Williamsburg VA area. She plays Celtic harp and has become a certified music practitioner with MHTP and plays harp in hospitals and hospice in her area. As a harpist with arthritis, she has found that exercise can profoundly help hand articulation and the ability to continue to play with ease. This is Kathy's third year at Somerset leading this morning workshop at the pool for the early risers at the festival.

Presenter website: Kathy Kasley

Water Workout
Level: Any. Type: Swimming When: Fri. & Sat. 7:30am  More Info

Beth Kollé

beth kolleBeth Kollé has immersed herself in the harp music and traditions of the far north of Europe, so much so that she's led three HARPA tours to Norway. Her instrumental talents include traditional Celtic as well as double-strung harps as well as piano and flute. You'll get to share her passions in these areas with her workshops on double-strung harp and the music of Norway. She makes her home in Seattle, where she is part of two groups: The Seattle Harp Duo with Harper Tasche and Greensleeves with Susan McLain. Among her nine published books of harp arrangements are The Northern Folk Harp, The Scandinavian Folk Harp, and The Double-Strung Harp. Her CDs reflect her special interests, offering a selection of harp music from the Northern Lands.

Presenter website: Beth Kollé

Double-strung Challenges
Level: Any Type: Hands-on When: Fri. 9:30am    More Info

Playing for Weddings
Level: Any Type: Hands-on When: Sun. 9am   More Info

Scandinavian Folk Dance
Level: Any Type: Feet-ready! When: Fri. 3:30pm   More Info

Scandinavian Folk Music
Level: Int-Adv. Type: Hands-on When: Sat. 9:30am   More Info

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