Welcome to World Harp Ensemble Headquarters!
(Pictured: Deborah Henson-Conant (USA), Shelley Fairplay (UK) & Eleanor Turner (UK) – World Harp Ensemble Core players for the 2017 World Harp Congress final concert in Hong Kong.)
This is a harp ensemble that you can be part of no matter where you live in the world even if you don’t play the harp. In every WHE piece, there will be a part for Fledglings/Beginners, Intermediate, Virtuosi and Soloists, Singers, Dancers and non-players.
Our mission with the World Harp Ensemble is to create a series of ‘deceptively simple’ ensemble pieces that harpists can learn and play together spontaneously – just like any great game.
Deborah Henson-Conant is a GRAMMY®-Nominated recording artist and the world’s premier electric harpist. She’s known for her high energy shows with orchestra and on solo stages, her evocative singing voice, her fusion of music and theater – and.for transforming the classical concert harp into a “Street Harp” – a powerful, fully electric instrument a seventh of the size of a concert harp and fully electric. Her playing ranges from full-out bluesy to heart wrenching ballad. This is a feel-good, outside-the-box, bring-the-folks-you-love kind of show for audiences of all genders and ages- folks who want to celebrate what it means to passionately follow your own creative path.
Shelley Fairplay is an experienced, professional freelance harpist from South Wales with a passionate and dedicated approach to performing. She studied for her degree in Music at Cardiff University and completed a Masters course in performance on the harp (M.Mus) at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in 2006. She has been a member of the National Youth Orchestra of Wales, played with Rehearsal Orchestra, and has worked with various orchestras local to the area.
She also holds a teaching diploma from the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music and has been teaching the harp both privately and for various organisations in one-to-one and group/ensemble settings since 1998. She is a fully qualified Primary School teacher with two years of classroom experience where she ran choirs, school orchestras, recorder groups, and music workshops.
Shelley is passionate about her full time work as a professional harpist which gives her the opportunity to play throughout Wales and the UK with a diverse range of appearances at weddings, corporate events, parties, recitals, orchestras, and also pit work for shows and ballets. She has also organised, promoted, and played in charity concerts and events such as the National Botanic Gardens of Wales. She is devoted to her work and delights in playing music.
Eleanor Turner is a passionate ambassador for the harp. Eleanor has been performing professionally for over eighteen years, making her London concerto debut aged just fifteen, with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields conducted by Daniel Harding and broadcast live on Classic Fm. Eleanor has performed solo at the Berlin Philharmonie, Musiekgeouw Aant Ij in Amsterdam and the Wigmore Hall in London, with concerto appearances in London, New Orleans and Sydney.
Eleanor won Second Prize in the 2011 Gaudeamus Interpreters Competition and has numerous other awards including First Prize at the European Harp Competition 2007, which kickstarted her international career. Eleanor’s principal tutors were Daphne Boden and Alison Nicholls and another key influence in Eleanor’s life is the American jazz harpist, composer and conductor Deborah Henson-Conant, whose music forms a centrepiece for Eleanor’s ‘Wild Bird’ show about artistic freedom, and with whom she is greatly looking forward to working with in 2018.
As a composer, Eleanor wrote the score for Ballet Wales’ 2007 production ‘The Bride of Flowers’ and has since written pop songs, a stage show ‘Elusive Symmetry’ with hip-hop dancer Lizzie Gough and guitarist-composer Alan Thomas and she regularly combines spoken word with the harp. Recent collaborations include Indian-western improvised music with tabla player Mendi Mohinder Singh and guest appearances with the band Ranagrí and pop legend Tony Christie. Eleanor is Head of Harp at Birmingham Conservatoire, where she has been working with Music Interaction Designer Balandino Di Donato on ‘HarpCI’, gesture-controlled electronic music.