Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Charity Recital

Back in November we really enjoyed playing for the Surrey Care Trust helping to raise money for their Changing Young Lives Appeal. We thought you might like to see some pictures from the event where we were performing with the entertainer Richard Stilgoe.

Monday, 28 December 2009

Kendal Midday Concert Club - another rave review!

With four harps, it is inevitable that we all spend a lot of time driving around the UK to perform. This concert was no exception, with two of us making the six hour journey from London to the Lake District to perform for Kendal Midday Concert Club. In spite of the long drive, it was well worth the effort as we were wonderfully looked after and most enthusiastically received by the Club's audience for our final Christmas concert of the year on 16 December 2009. We were also fortunate to have the concert reviewed, and have included it below for you to read:

Kendal Midday Concert Club

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A dank, dismal day, the ‘Auld Grey Town’ looking leaden, the pre-Christmas pressures beginning to be felt; waiting for the start of the Midday Concert Club’s recital a fellow music-lover was describing his recent holiday in South Africa – “it was terrible”, he said, “the sun shone every day!” We clearly needed an immediate pick-me-up.

Prayers were quickly answered; on stage were four gleaming harps; soon these were joined by four young goddesses in red gowns; one of them (a Welsh deity) introduced each of them in turn and we knew that as soon as they started to play the exterior gloom would be replaced by an interior ambience that was glowing, luminous and utterly captivating.

Four Girls Four Harps perked up their audience with a magnificent display of virtuoso harp playing. Much of it took the form of their own skilful arrangements of familiar classics; some was original; but all was impeccably and excitingly played and introduced with a delightful informality and humour.

The Kendalian murk eventually re-enveloped us - not that it mattered now: we were almost ready for Christmas!

Brian Paynes.

Basingstoke Concert Club - Rave Review!

We have realy enjoyed rounding off this year of concerts with some Christmas-themed performances, and were fortunate enough have some of them reviewed. Below is the review from our concert for Basingstoke Concert Club on 5 Decemer 2009:

Four Girls Four Harps
Basingstoke Concert Club
Trinity Methodist Church, Basingstoke

Members of the audience were greeted by an impressive sight as they entered. At the front of the church were ranged four handsome instruments, each harp different from the others, gold, polished wood, dark and light, ornamented and plain. We were to be entertained by the Barkham Harp Quartet, Eleanor Turner, Keziah Thomas, Harriet Adie and Angharad Wyn Jones.

What an unusual ensemble this was. Their programme consisted mainly of arrangements of works for other combinations of instruments, most of them done most skilfully by members of the group. Their playing was characterised by a charming rapport with one another, and with the audience, each displaying virtuosic skill, yet blending seamlessly together.

They opened with movements from Handel’s Water Music, and continued with extracts from Ravel’s Mother Goose Suite. This was followed by arrangements of Christmas carols, in the style of Britten’s Ceremony of Carols. The audience had fun trying to work out which of the familiar tunes were disguised in these very interesting settings.Movements from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite lent themselves well to the harps, especially the Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy, but we must all have been wondering what they would make of Saint Saens’s Carnival of the Animals -how do you portray an elephant on harps? – but they managed it.

Perhaps the most interesting piece was Saraswati by Edward Longstaff, inspired by Indian music combined with a minimalist style. The Quartet had, on previous occasions, been joined to play this by Sanju Sahai on the Indian tabla. We were not privileged to hear this unusual blend of eastern and western culture, but nevertheless, the harps alone produced some fascinating new sounds and motifs.

Members of the quartet were happy to explain and demonstrate some of the mysteries of harp technique and construction, and ended their recital with two encores, an arrangement of the well-known Sleigh Ride, and another of Gershwin’s Summertime. The large and enthusiastic audience was treated to an enjoyable and attractive programme by a group of highly talented and committed young musicians.

The Concert was sponsored by Lynn Ten Kate in memory of her friend Roland Weisz, who died a year ago.

David Lucas

Monday, 30 November 2009

Magazine features!

It has been a busy Autumn for us this year with lots of concerts - Machynlleth, Two Moors Festival, Great Bowden and Chobham, to name a few - and we have also been featured in two big name industry magazines.

Back in the August issue of Classical Music magazine we were one of the ensembles written about in their cover story on young all-girl groups setting the Classical world on fire. It was very interesting to be asked so many questions about how we find work within the industry and how we use the fact that there are four of us to our advantage - in this case big is definitely better!

We were also given a two page spread in the October/November issue of Muso (see above) where we were grilled on every aspect of being harpists and the challanges of playing in a group with four identical instruments. We hope that this might enlighten people a bit about what we do and how we see the group progressing in the future (and also find out a bit more about what we are like away from the harp!).

Unfortunately we are having a bit of trouble uploading the article from Classical Music magazine, but for any of you who would like a read, you can order back copies from the magazine's website. When we get a bit more 'technological' then we will have another go at uploading it.

Friday, 16 October 2009

East meets West in an exciting collaboration with Tabla

Our latest concert for the Two Moors Festival featured the amazing Tabla player Sanju Sahai. We first met Sanju when recording our latest CD 'Fireworks and Fables', where he provided authentic Tabla sounds for the indian-influenced piece, Saraswati by Edward Longstaff. It was great to get the chance to play with Sanju again and we were so excited to perform with him live for the first time. The sound of harps and tabla is an unusual combination, but somehow, the fact that both instruments have a sound that is reminiscent of water, creates a brilliant blend of eastern and western cultures, subtlety and rhythmic precision.

We are now looking forward to commissioning some new works specially written for us and Sanju so that we can show even more people how great this combination is!

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Our Latest Review

We recently performed for the Tewkesbury Awaken Your Senses Festival and we thought you would like to see the review of the concert:


Awaken Your Senses Festival: 4 Girls 4 Harps - Watson Memorial Hall, Tewkesbury
Monday 14th September 2009
Crackerjack rating: 8 / 10.

Tewkesbury's Awaken your Senses Festival certainly fulfilled its promise in its grand finale. While the solo harp features regularly in recitals, harp ensembles do not - an omission that 4 Girls 4 Harps and the Festival seem determined to change.

The repertoire for four harps cannot be extensive, so a number of the works played were transcriptions made by members of the ensemble. This worked well with Handel's lively La Rejouissance from the Royal Fireworks Music, but strangely it was not so effective in the selection from Ravel's Mother Goose, apart from the Empress of the Pagodas with its wonderful rippling Oriental textures. Saint Saens Carnival of the Animals, however, was a great success. The Swan glided along on the flowing music, and the Aquarium glittered with aquatic life. The evocation of the Elephant was especially amusing with plenty of sonorous sounds from the bottom register.

The evening was enlivened by a well presented history of the harp from the lyre of Ancient Mesopotamia to the double action pedal harp of today with examples of music from bygone ages. Three original works served to demonstrate the versatility of the instruments. Eleanor Turner's Rambla! evoked the atmosphere of Spain with flamenco dance rhythms and torrential rainfall. Harriet Adie's Sun, Moon and Stars focussed on the searing heat of the Middle East and the cool, eerie stillness of the desert at night. Saraswati by Edward Longstaff presented a number of challenges to the performers. Its minimalist nature succeeded in creating a trance-like atmosphere well suited to its Eastern religious theme - and was the culmination of a fascinating and varied programme by four musicians of exceptional talent.

Roger Jones

Thursday, 10 September 2009

BBC Radio 3

We are very pleased to have been played on Rob Cowen's Breakfast show on BBC Radio 3 on Wednesday 09 September. http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/console/b00mj63r

It is great to be played by such an institution as the BBC and to be able to show our music to an even wider audience!

Sunday, 16 August 2009

A day in the studio

Whilst we love the sound of the harp on its own (dramatic, versatile and powerful), at the same time, we like to experiment with new things. To this end, we have just recorded three new arrangements for harp with choir and strings. We spent the day at Dean Street studios in London recording the new tracks, first on our own, and then layering the strings and choir on top. We haven't heard the final edits yet, but it was great to hear the added dimension of powerful cellos and basses underneath our rippling chords and arpeggios.

We had added excitement on the day as we were filming the whole experience for a DVD which will be available in the New Year! It will be great for people who have enjoyed our concerts to be able to relive the experience in their own homes, particularly as the harp is such a visually stunning instrument!

Sunday, 21 June 2009

We love Classic FM!

Saint-Saens' Carnival of the Animals has had yet another outing on Classic FM, this time in the form of Aquarium on the monthly Magazine Show. If you'd like a listen click http://mediaweb.musicradio.com/player/default.asp?s=2&e=8415 . The programme also gives details of some of the concerts we have coming up in the next few months, so if they are being performed at venues in your area come and pay us a visit!

Monday, 15 June 2009

Classic FM New Releases Show

Yet more evidence that Classic FM loves our new CD: we were recently played on David Mellor's New CD show this Saturday (13th June), where he played our arrangements of The Aviary and The Elephant from Saint-Saens' Carnival of the Animals. David apparently really admires the way we play and 'thoroughly enjoyed the CD'. Click on the link below if you would like to listen for yourselves! You can also buy a copy of the CD from Amazon if you would like to hear it in full.


Sunday, 7 June 2009

David Mellor's recommended CD of the week on Classic FM!

We're very pleased to have been David Mellor's CD of choice this week on The Guest List on Classic FM. It's fantastic exposure for the group and it was great that he chose to play one of our original compositions on the programme: Eleanor Turner's Spanish-themed 'Rambla!'. Whilst we love arranging pieces by well-known composers, it is important to continue to develop new repertoire for the ensemble and show people the amazing colours and tonal variety that the harp can create! If you'd like to hear us on the show click on the link below, go to the 'listen again' section and select 'The Guest List with Anne-Marie Minhall, 07/06/09'. For those of you who don't want to listen to the entire programme, we are on towards the end.


Tuesday, 26 May 2009

On the airwaves

We're very pleased that the lovely Alan Titchmarsh played some music from our new CD 'Fireworks and Fables' over the weekend on his BBC Radio 2 show. For any of you who missed it click on the link below (only available for the next 5 days so don't miss out!).


Tuesday, 19 May 2009

National review

We are delighted to have had our new CD featured in the June issue of Classic FM magazine. We've uploaded a copy of the article but buy your own from national newsagents or visit http://www.classicfm.co.uk/shop/classic-fm-magazine/ to order your copy online!

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

A visit to the land of the harp!

We've just got back from a very exciting day in Wales performing live on the Welsh version of the One Show: Wedi 7. We had a brilliant time and were really well looked after by the team. We chose to play one of our signature pieces: Malaguena by Lecuona, which is a fiesty spanish-influenced dance where you really see the harps letting rip!

As only Angharad speaks Welsh, she was the spokesman for the group, talking about our new CD and the type of music that we play. You can watch the performance here http://www.s4c.co.uk/clic/e_level2.shtml?series_id=341970700 (although it is only live for the next six days).

Friday, 17 April 2009

Photos from the Showcase

Here are some photos from last week's showcase for Universal Records. We're wearing dresses provided by http://www.thedresslounge.com/ which look lovely and really suit the beautiful setting we're playing in.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Showcase in action!

Well it's all go today! Keziah has just uploaded some clips from our showcase performance last week on You Tube - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4vGpUMvSlM8 . We think they give a nice glimpse of what an intimate and exclusive event it was AND you get to hear some of our music!

Have a listen and tell us what you think, as we always love to get feedback.


Friday, 10 April 2009

How to buy our new CD

Our new CD Fireworks and Fables is now available on Amazon http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_ss_w_h_?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=4+girls+4+harps&x=17&y=17

It is a great album with varied music to appeal to everyone who likes classical music or the harp! Do write a review of the CD as well as we always like to get feedback on what we do.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Showstopping showcase!

I can't believe today is over - all the hard work we put in over the past couple of weeks really paid off and the showcase went amazingly well! There were lots of interesting people in attendance including a representative from Universal Records and a journalist from the Mail on Sunday! Everyone really enjoyed themselves and remarked on how much interaction on stage there was between us when we play!

It was also great to have the event compered by BBC Radio 2's Paul Gambaccini - he made us feel right at ease and asked us lots of questions about the group and the music we perform. The buzz afterwards when we were chatting with the audience was brilliant and everyone kept saying how exciting they found it and how it had confounded their expectations of what four harps would be like.

It is too soon to say what the next step is from here, but today has been a complete success and we can only keep getting better and better!


Monday, 6 April 2009

Welsh Debut

We are very excited to be performing live on Welsh TV Channel Wedi 7 on 5 May (see http://www.s4c.co.uk/e_index.shtml for more information).

It will be really great to showcase the group to a part of the UK which has so many lovers of the harp. One downside though - only one person in the group speaks Welsh! Oh well, we'll just have to let our music do the talking for us :)


Win two tickets to our exclusive showcase this Wednesday 8 April by answering the following question: what is the total number of strings on four full-sized concert harps?

Competition deadline is Tuesday 7 April at 6pm (UK time). One winner will be chosen at random from all correct entries.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Cinderella shall go to the ball (dress)

Yesterday Ellie and I spent a happy couple of hours wading through ball gowns in order to choose four dresses for our showcase next week. The dresses are being provided by the London based shop The Dress Lounge http://www.thedresslounge.com/ and we are really excited about wearing them!

It took a lot of debating and trying on (particularly because we were also trying on dresses for the other two members as they couldn't make it to the fitting - very amusing substituting 5'6 Ellie for 5'1 Keziah!), but we finally settled on some beautiful oyster, cream and gold creations which will really compliment the colours of our harps and fit well with our Grecian Goddess theme.

We'll put some photos up here once the event is over so you can all see the finished article. Only five days to go now, so the pace is really hotting up and still so much to do!


Thursday, 2 April 2009

Press Releases

I have spent the morning sending out press releases about the group's new CD and forthcoming showcase next week on 8 April. It is amazing how much time self promotion can take up - forget memorizing the music for next week, one can expect to spend the whole day sending out info about the group and then following it up with photos and nagging phone calls to try and get some editor to like you!

Today's musicians have to be multi talented in order to succeed: they have to be able to network, write biographies and programme notes, look great in publicity photos, be under the age of 35 (ideally a child prodigy), be PR and marketing whizzes, and come up with innovative projects that do something that no one else has done before. All of this whilst fitting in 8 hours practise each day!


Tuesday, 31 March 2009

You can make a marketing opportunity out of anything!

I randomly sold a CD to the man behind the post office counter today. He happened to notice that I was sending a letter to that most hallowed of institutions, the Musicians' Union, and asked about what sort of music I played and whether I had ever recorded any cds. Not one to pass up an opportunity, I of course told him all about 4 Girls 4 Harps and how great we were and sure enough he has asked me to bring one in for him the next time I'm posting letters!

Its amazing how my assumptions about how irrelevant the people one meets in one's daily life are have been turned upside down by this. I guess that is what PR and marketing are all about - making the most of every opportunity that comes along and showing a real interest in everyone no matter what job or part of the world they come from. Next stop Tescos and world domination.....


We are very excited to be doing a showcase for Universal Records (amongst others) on 8 April 2009! Its been a bit frantic getting everything organised for it as we only found out about it last week, but we're on schedule and can't wait to show everyone what we can do.

New CD

Our new CD 'Fireworks and Fables' is now available and we're really excited. Its full of fantastic arrangements of music by composers such as Handel, Saint-Saens and Ravel, and also original compositions by our very own Eleanor Turner and Harriet Adie. As if that wasn't enough, we have also collaborated with internationally renowned Tabla player Sanju Sahai on our flagship piece Saraswati and added a jazz element with drums and double bass for our arrangement of Gershwin's Summertime.

Visit our website www.4girls4harps.com for more information and to order your copy!


Follow our progress on this blog or you can find us on http://twitter.com/4Girls4Harps , http://www.myspace.com/4girls4harps and http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/group.php?gid=2252298393&ref=ts - no one can say we are not internet-savvy!