Composer’s Spotlight Series: Ana Harp plays ‘New Blues’

In this interview, Ana shares her experience as well as the audience’s reactions to her playing New Blues. She first learned about New Blues as a piece when she attended Deborah Henson-Conant’s concert in Wales. She is also grateful to Deborah for sharing this piece and for giving the opportunity to play her music.

Ana Harp

Ana Harp (Brateljević) is a principal harpist of the Czech National Symphony Orchestra with which she had the opportunity to collaborate with world-renowned musicians as Ennio Morricone (over 60 concerts), Andrea Bocelli (recording of the CD Believe and concerts), Vladimir Cosma, Danny Elfman, Jose Carreras…

She is also active in teaching – chamber music and harp external pedagogue at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, and harp and piano teacher at Ilji Hurnika Music School in Prague.

After obtaining both Master’s degrees in harp and piano in Belgrade, she continued studies at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague under prof. Jana Bouskova, and in 2016 finished Ph.D. studies, specialization in the harp.

Ana is active in several chamber music projects, besides solo recitals on harp and piano, as well as recitals on which she plays both instruments.

She collaborated on many projects of other genres with electroacoustic and lever harp.

Continue reading below for the full interview with Ana Harp

Watch Ana Harp’s performance of “New Blues” on her CAMAC Kerrigan lever harp.

A Mini-Interview with Ana

How would you describe your experience of playing the piece?

Fun, Interesting, Exciting, Fresh and New

What do people say when you play this piece? Do you have favorite memories of people’s reactions to it?

After the first few bars I see surprise on the faces of the audience which afterwards transforms in the wide smile

Usually they are shocked and surprised that blues can be played on harp and that it sounds good! The people are always expecting to hear “angelic” sound of the harp and then they are simply amazed that it is possible to play such a variety of music on our instrument.

What drew you to this piece – why did you choose to learn it?

The story goes back to Wales and Caernarfon Harp Festival where I attended concert of Deborah Henson-Conant. It was my very first trip abroad and I have never imagined that it is possible to play jazz, blues, improvise, sing and communicate with the audience in the way she is doing. I was simply amazed by DHC and once I returned to my country I started to search for Deborah’s music online and ordered few pieces – one of them was New Blues.

What does this piece add to your repertoire (and/or your life) that you didn’t have before?

I was trained as a classical pianist and harpist but after my experience in Wales I really wanted to try to play different music styles. I remember that I listened to Deborah’s recording ‘Around the Clock and wanted to try to play jazz, but jazz is not written 🙁 New Blues was the opportunity to play some blues which is written, get closer to that genre and start exploring in different music styles.

The piece expanded my music horizon and opened the new exciting chapter.
After that I bought my electric DHC lever harp and collaborated on many different projects, also I have started to do arrangements for the lever harp and improvise. I managed to experience music freedom while improvising.

What would you tell someone else who’s thinking of learning this piece that you wish you’d known before you learned it?

Don’t count. Follow your inner feeling and after count to check it out.

What do you think you can get from working directly with the composer of the piece that you can’t get from the sheet music?

Definitely I can get a feedback about my playing of the certain piece and it is possible to discover more deeper layers of the interpretation which can not always be written in the music score.

Anything else you want to say?

I am really grateful to participate in this project and share my recording of the New Blues. It would be a dream come true for me to meet Deborah Henson Conant and learn from her.

Also I would like to thank to DHC for sharing her pieces with us, for sharing the scores and giving us the opportunity to play her music!

Please follow this artist on social media and let them know what has opened up for your own self-expression in seeing and hearing their performance, and please share in the comments below.

YouTube: Ana Harp
Instagram: @ana_harp_ / @anaharp_music
Facebook: Ana Harp Music

Stay tuned for more artists soon and check out my Composer’s Spotlight blog series, featuring other talented musicians who played my song!

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