I am extremely grateful to be a recipient of the 'Developing Your Creative Practice' award from Arts Council England. I will be spending 2021 undertaking a year long period improving my compositional skills, and will also be Composer in Residence with Harps North West during this time. I'll be writing harps North West three new works for harp ensemble and I've also mapped out a years worth of compositional self-study which I'm really looking forward to diving into.
Again, I cannot begin to express enough my gratitude to Arts Council England for this support when I am acutely aware of how much of a struggle it is right now for everyone in the Arts. There is another round of grant applications about to open, so I would encourage all creatives to go online and apply. This grant will not only be allowing me to further my compositional skills, but also gives 2021 a much needed overall structure, which in the absence of freelance gigs is extremely welcome.
I'll also be in the studio soon finishing off recording my second album which will be released by Avie Records in Autumn 2021. It will include six of my compositions, including 3 harp quartets that I wrote at the beginning of 2020 commissioned by PRS Foundation 'Women Make Music' and my harp duo, 'Sea of Stars' for lever harp & pedal harp. I'm very grateful to the wonderful harpists Eleanor Turner, Alexander Rider and Elizabeth Bass for joining me and recording my music.
I've only recently embarked on a creative compositional journey having started writing music in 2018, so this all seems a bit of a whirlwind! But I am very grateful for everyones support and I hope to be scribbling lots more dots throughout 2021.
LINK for more about Lauren's music HERE
What a delight it was to be at the Perth Harp Festival at the beginning of this month! A brilliantly organised event by the West Australia Harp Society, and it was a privilege to be able to present a workshop on extended techniques for lever harp as well as a concert of my music.
It was the first time I had travelled on a plane with my lever harp and my harp certainly had some adventures on the way.
The first of which was the realisation at the reclaim baggage area at Perth airport that, after 18 hours of travel, my harp hadn't made the transfer during the stopover in Hong Kong. Maximum stress levels then ensued!!! But the good people at Perth airport sorted it out and eventually the harp made the next flight and was couriered on to me.
Now that I know that the harp might be "bumped' off flights without my knowledge because it's 'oversized', I'm prepared for future trips. Despite having a photo of a harp stuck onto the harp case, airport check in staff still came up to me asking if it was a bicycle.
Lesson learnt = always make sure there is another flight to your destination after the one you have booked, to give the harp a chance to catch up with you in case it's bumped off the flight.
The relief of the harp arriving the day before my recital was immense!!!
After the harp arrival drama, it was straight into the harp festival hosted at the Western Australia Academy of Performing Arts. Unfortunately I could only be there for one day, which was a great shame as I would have like to have been there for the whole event. As well as meeting lots of lovely harpists in Perth, it was fabulous to see so many different makes of harps that I hadn't seen before. I'm very grateful to the kindness extended to me by the local harpists, especially Bronwen Wallis who organised some private teaching for me, and to WAAPA for allowing me to teach in their college. Harp festivals are great places to meet with old and new harp friends, and it was good to spend a little bit of time hanging out with new harp friends including Becky Swann from New Zealand.
Homeward bound was more straightforward with my harp and it managed not to get lost this time in the airport system!
We had a few days in Hong Kong on the way back to the U.K and it was a chance to visit Ting Lau in her harp studio after meeting her the week before in Perth.
I'm really looking forward to coming back to Australia, (and hopefully Hong Kong) in August 2020 for a more extensive trip and will be working with the harp students at WAAPA and collaborating on a new contemporary harp duo project with Australian harpist, Catherine Ashley.
The highlight of August for me, was playing my tiny lever harp at a family wedding on the wonderful Isle of Iona - part of the Inner Hebrides.
Getting there was quite a journey! Long drive to Oban, than a ferry to the Isle of Mull. There are no visitors cars allowed on Iona, so you have to leave your car on Mull, and carry your luggage onto a smaller ferry over to Iona - hence the lever harp, and handy rucksack case for my Camac!
The wedding was in the historic Abbey on the island....
which you can also just make out in the picture below from the boat. (The only large structure on the centre right of the picture). Total population of Iona is 130 - info here
We made a family holiday out of the week, and had a lovely break on Mull and Iona. A truly wonderful place and we will certainly be going back there. The weather was fantastic, the air was pure and because there are no street lights, the most amazing night sky.
It's an hour by boat from Iona to the Isle of Staffa, and of course Fingal's Cave. It was worth the effort to see why Mendlessohn was so taken with it - it's an incredible place.
photo inside Fingal's cave - which was a bit of a slightly daunting trek across the basalt rocks!
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Lauren Scott is a harpist & composer and has been blogging for over 10 years.
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