Presenter Roster

  Announced Jan. 1
  Old Friends
  & New Faces

  Can't make it to Somerset?
You Gotta Have Harp invites you to the
Harpers' Escape Weekend
October 2-4, 2015


Presenters       Henson-Conant >Lapidus

Deborah Henson-Conant

deborah henson-conantSince one reviewer called her the ‘wild woman of the harp,’ Deborah describes herself as being "cross-genre: jazz-pop-comedy-blues-flamenco-celtic.” During her impressive career which includes a CD that was nominated for a Grammy, Deborah has brought the harp out of the demure background and into the electric limelight! Mixing music and theatre Deborah performs solo or with a symphony with equal ease. When orchestrating her own music, she often engages symphonic musicians in unexpected ways. Writes another reviewer “her life, her shows, her instrument, her workshops, and her music are all about transformation.” Expect Deborah to be a dynamic member of this year’s Somerset guest-performers and faculty--encouraging and challenging us to boldly go where no harper has gone before. In addition to her four workshops at Someset, the festival is also collaborating with Deborah to present her new Improv Immersion Experience special Sunday program add-on as part of our first full day on Sunday.

Presenter website: Deborah Henson-Conant

Corrina Hewat

corrina hewatDue to illness, we regret that Ms. Hewat is forced to cancel her appearance. Look for her at a future festival.camac

Corrina's appearance is sponsored in part by Camac Harps.
Corrina Hewat, brought up in the Black Isle in the Highlands of Scotland, is Principal Scottish Harp Tutor at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. She wears many musical hats: being a singer, songwriter, composer and musical director, recording artist, collaborator and workshop presenter. In 2013 she won the Music Tutor of the Year at the Scots Trad Awards and is in demand teaching across Europe and the US. Corrina is a founder member of bands Bachué, Chantan, Shine and Scots 17-piece big band supergroup The Unusual Suspects (nominated Live Act of the Year 2005). She has been commissioned to write 14 large-scale works for ensembles, and now also runs HarmonySong courses across Scotland, having great success with groups of up to 150 people at one time. She has recorded over 40 albums under her own name, her bands and as a session musician and sung with numerous other recording artists like Eddi Reader, Peggi Seeger, and Bobby McFerrin. She has conducted and performed at the Royal Albert Hall in London; judges at the Inverness Music Festival, Royal National Mod, for the Scottish Harp Society of America,and Dinan Rencontre Harp Composer Competition.

Presenter website: Corrina Hewat

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 dance music and song
Level: Int-Adv Type: Hands-on When: Fri. 3:30pm

Ancient Prayers and Blessings from the Hebrides
Level: Int-Adv Type: Hands-on When: Sat. 1:30pm  

Composing in a Traditional Style
Level: Int-Adv Type: Hands-on When: Fri. 9:30-11am

Music Therapy Overview
Level: Any Type: Lecture When: Thurs. 9:30am

Scottish Harp Music of the 18th Century
Level: Int-Adv Type: Hands-on When: Thurs. 3pm

Liza 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 or call her at 917-696-5974

DIY Harp Maintenance 1: Knot Tying
Level: Any. Type: Hands-on When: Fri. 11:15am-noon   

DIY Harp Maintenance 2: Tuning
Level: Any. Type: Hands-on When: Sat. 11:15am-noon   

Harp Regulation Tutorial
Level: Any. Type: Hands-on When: Sat. 9:30-11am  

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  

Lynne Lapidus

lynne lapidus“A harp wrapped in a Tallis” is planned for the cover of Lynne Lapidus’ first CD, which will be harp arrangements of liturgical Jewish music, including a melody she says ‘I literally learned at the left knee’ of Elie Wiesel. Descended from a long line of professional women musicians (her grandmother sang for the Tzar!) Lynne played piano from a young age, studied guitar in college and has been singing semi-professionally most of her life, including musical theatre and program music. Later, discovering the folk harp, Lynne studied with Odarka Stockert and immediately began using it in synagogue services. She is planning three CD’s, one liturgical, one Yiddish and one modern Hebrew. It's our pleasure at the festival to give loyal festival-goers the opportunity to present a music topic in which they have deep roots and feel very passionate about. This is Lynne's third year presenting on a Jewish music topic.

Presenter website: Lynne Lapidus

Jewish Holiday Music
Level: Beg-Int. Type: Hands-on When: Fri. 3:30-5pm  More Info

Jewish Wedding Music for Harp and Voice
Level: Beg-Int. Type: Hands-on When: Fri. 9:30-11am  More Info

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