Historical Harp Society of Ireland

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Denis O'Hampsey 200th anniversary, November 2007 - events in Scotland

November 2007 was the 200th anniversary of the passing of the most important of all the old Scottish and Irish harp players: Denis O'Hampsey (1695 - 1807), and events were held in Scotland and Ireland to commemorate the anniversary at the beginning of November.

Although the main events were held near O'Hampsey's home in Co Derry, N. Ireland, HHSI Honorary Secretary Simon Chadwick also organised events on the East coast of Scotland. He led a workshop at the Wighton Heritage Centre, Dundee, on Saturday 10th November, which explored the music of Denis O'Hampsey. Attendees were able to look at music from the Wighton Collection's old music books, including original editions of Bunting's collection with a rare engraved portrait of Denis O'Hampsey, and a facsimile of Bunting's field notebook provided by Queens University Belfast, as well as being able to play on one of the HHSI Student Downhill harps.

On Sunday 11th November Simon played a concert at the St Andrews Museum, in Kinburn Park, St Andrews. The capacity audience - some latecomers had to sit on the floor - listened to a selection of pieces from O'Hampsey's repertory played on the replica Downhill harp. The recital also featured Simon's fantastic new replica of the medieval Scottish 'Queen Mary' harp.

With thanks to
The Friends of Wighton www.friendsofwighton.com
Fife Council Museums Service www.fife.gov.uk

For more information about Denis O'Hampsey: www.earlygaelicharp.info/hampsey
Fore more on the historical harp traditions of Ireland and Scotland: www.earlygaelicharp.info

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Beginners' Workshop for Early Irish Harp at Fota House, Co. Cork

On Saturday 22nd September, the HHSI collaborated with East Cork Early Music Festival to provide a Beginners' Taster Day for Early Irish Harp at Fota House in East Cork as part of the 2007 East Cork Early Music Festival. This highly regarded baroque music festival is at the forefront of bringing historically informed concert performances to Ireland so the HHSI was delighted to accept the invitation to present Ireland's historical harp to a new audience with the help of an illustrated lecture and a 'hands on' workshop. Both the planned lecture and workshop took place in a very beautiful room with sensational plasterwork ceiling in the Regency-style building just east of Cork city.

The HHSI's chair, Siobhán Armstrong, had an engaged and lively audience for her illustrated lecture and Q&A session on the history, repertoire and international travels of the early Irish harp with live music examples and visual images on an overhead projector. This was followed by a workshop for eight participants from Co. Cork and further afield, with a chance to play some of the HHSI's unique collection of student facsimiles of surviving historic instruments. One of the participants even arrived fully armed with her own exquisite early Irish harp, a stunning carved and painted facsimile of the Scottish Queen Mary harp, built for her by Ireland's newest and most exciting historical harp builder, Davy Patton, of Roscommon.

Audiences at ECEMF had a further chance to hear the unique sound of Ireland's historical harp at a concert on Sunday 23rd September in which Siobhán Armstrong, together with festival director, Sarah Cunningham, bass viol, performed together with star Australian baroque violinist, Elizabeth Wallfisch and Ireland's traditional fiddle virtuoso, Gerry O'Connor.

The HHSI would like to thank Sarah Cunningham and ECEMF, Fota House and all the participants for collaborating in this event.

The HHSI is supported by the Arts Council of Ireland.

Friday, November 09, 2007

O'Hampsey on the BBC

Listen to an interview with Siobhán Armstrong on BBC Radio Ulster's Arts Extra, 6.30pm, 9th November 2007

The programme should be available for a week afterwards on 'Listen Again'

For more information on O'Hampsey's life and music please visit www.earlygaelicharp.info/hampsey

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Denis O'Hampsey Anniversary Celebration

Limavady Borough Council
in association with the
Historical Harp Society of Ireland
presents a

200th Anniversary Celebration
of the early Irish harper
Denis O'Hampsey

Saturday, 10th November
Co. Derry
N. Ireland

Programme of Events

11.30 Workshop Registration

Hands-On Beginners' Workshop for early Irish Harp
The Earls Room
Radisson SAS Roe Park Resort

For children aged 10+ and adults

Illustrated Talk: Denis O'Hampsey and the Early Irish Harp
Roe Valley Country Park

Cheese and wine reception

with the young harpers of the Hampsey Harp School and Siobhán Armstrong, Early Irish Harp

The early Irish harp is Ireland’s illustrious medieval harp strung in brass, silver and perhaps even gold wire. Played from at least 1000 to 1800 – and also the national emblem of Ireland – it was made famous by harpers such as Turlough Carolan. When it died out in the early 19th century it was replaced by the now much more familiar neo-Irish harp strung in gut and also, nowadays, nylon.

November 2007 is the 200th anniversary of the death of one of the last and most important of the early Irish harpers, Dennis O'Hampsey (1695–1807), from Magilligan in Co. Derry. Limavady Borough Council in association with the Historical Harp Society of Ireland invites you to come and discover the early Irish harp and to celebrate the life and music of Denis O'Hampsey.

On Saturday, 10th November, the Denis O'Hampsey Anniversary Celebration will begin with a 'hands-on' beginners' workshop given by Siobhán Armstrong, Chair of the Historical Harp Society of Ireland, with a chance to play beautiful student facsimiles of surviving early Irish harps supplied by the HHSI, including copies of O'Hampsey's Downhill harp from 1703. This workshop is suitable for participants from the age of ten to adults. Venue: Radisson SAS Roe Park Resort .

The evening events will take place at Roe Valley Country Park. Firstly, Siobhan Armstrong will give an illustrated talk: Denis O'Hampsey and the Early Irish Harp on the fascinating history, repertoire and travels of this ancient instrument and O'Hampsey himself. This will be followed by a recital at 8.00 p.m. with Siobhan Armstrong and members of the the Hampsey Harpers' School.

Siobhan Armstrong is one of a very few harpists worldwide who play harps from earlier centuries and who research historical playing techniques appropriate to these instruments. She has an extensive collection of instruments from the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and the baroque era. Siobhan is particularly interested in encouraging the revival of the early Irish harp, which has suffered almost complete neglect in Ireland since 1800. She founded and chairs the Historical Harp Society of Ireland. She plays a copy of the medieval Trinity College Harp – the national emblem of Ireland – built by David Kortier of Duluth, Minnesota, and strung in brass and 18-carat gold. Her solo recording on this instrument – Clairseach na hEireann/The Harp of Ireland – was released on Maya Recordings in 2004.

For more information and bookings, please contact:

Geraldine Smyth
Events & Cultural Officer
Limavady Borough Council


Tel :028 777 60304
Fax: 028 777 68107
mobile: 07966 725 327

Historical Harp Society of Ireland

+353 (0)51 646286