New online courses from Historical Harp Society of Ireland

HARPISTS EAGER to explore music for the instrument from 18th-century Ireland and from Medieval European, as well as musicians from any genre looking to overcome performance anxiety, will benefit from new courses from The Historical Harp Society of Ireland.

The Historical Harp Society of Ireland’s autumn Acadamh na gCláirseach—Academy of Early Irish Harp will present three online courses, starting 14th October, suitable for players of any kind of harp from post-beginner to professional levels. 

The courses, taught by leading international experts, will introduce harpists to authentic, historical sources, and teach them to turn old parchment and ink into living, breathing music.

A Garden of Earthly Delights: Medieval Music From Around Europe will open a door onto the mediaeval world of single-line dance melodies and multi-voiced compositions, from the earliest notated English dances to famous Italian manuscripts, and playable on any kind of harp. The course will be taught by Leah Stuttard, who has played the mediaeval harp for over 25 years, and Carolin Margraf, who has performed in ensembles and as a soloist across Europe and North America.

Overcoming Performance Anxiety is open to all musicians – regardless of instrument or genre – who struggle with performance nerves. The course tutor is Dr Jennifer Mackerras, a fully qualified and registered Alexander Technique teacher, who has worked at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. Participants will gain an understanding of what performance anxiety is, why it happens, the physical and mental tools to lessen the symptoms, and how to put those tools into practice.

Fundamentals of Playing the Early Irish Harp will cover 17th- and 18th-century performers and composers like Donal Black and Turlough Carolan, and will teach the foundational skills needed to explore the music and traditions of the early Irish harp at post-beginner level. The course tutor is Alessia Bianchi, a specialist in historical Gaelic harps as well as a teacher of modern-Irish and pedal harps. 

Acadamh na gCláirseach—Academy of Early Irish Harp courses take place on Zoom on six Saturdays between 14th October and 2nd December. Video recordings of each class will be available, allowing students to learn at their own pace, both during and after the course. There will also be high-quality course materials to download.

Musicians from anywhere in the world are welcome to take part. Community-building is everything at The Historical Harp Society of Ireland, so there are social tea breaks at each session. If you are curious of mind, as well as curious of finger, these courses are for you!

The cost for each course is €130, but there is an EARLY-BIRD DISCOUNT of €99 for those who enrol before 1st October 2023. For more information see

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