Each year the Somerset Harp festival attracts world class performers for your enjoyment. Below is a sample list of some of the performers who have given concerts at the Festival over the years. For a list of this year’s performers, click here.
RAY POOL was the harpist at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City for 17 years! He is a teacher, recording artist, composer, arranger and clinician. He is now working fulltime in harp instruction with the Bedside Harp® program in several locations in New Jersey. Ray is thoroughly knowledgable, likeable, and helpful. He has traveled all over the Unites States with his workshops, and has gotten rave reviews. Ray is the foremost promoter for tuning lever harps in Eb. You won’t believe what he can play on a lever harp!
KIM ROBERTSON is a renowned performer, recording artist, arranger and instructor who has stretched the boundaries of the harp for a new generation of harpists. As a pioneer in the N. American folk harp movement, she combines innovative artistry with a passionate sense of tradition, bringing a contemporary touch to a centuries-old instrument.Born in Wisconsin and classically trained on piano and pedal harp, Kim’s discovery of the Celtic harp in the mid-70’s grew into a profound love for the instrument, setting her upon the path of exploration for which she is now widely known. Her work now encompasses over 20 album projects, 11 volumes of harp arrangements, three instructional videos and an international itinerary of concerts and retreats.
SUNITA STANISLOW occupies a unique position in the world of Jewish music today. She is one of the few harpists to perform and record traditional Sephardic and Klezmer music. Sunita was the principal harpist for the Jerusalem Symphony during the 1986-87 season, and it was during this time that her love for traditional Jewish music was sparked. Since then she has spent several months a year in Israel, performing and recording with local musicians, and came on Aliyah (immigrated) with her family in the summer of 2000. Sunita’s recordings have been distributed worldwide and she performs regularly in Israel, Europe and the United States. Sunita was named one of the top ten Jewish instrumentalists by Moment magazine and she was a recipient of a 1998 McKnight Foundation Fellowship in recognition of her work with Jewish music. She has released 12 CDs on several labels of Jewish, Celtic and classical music and published several books of her arrangements Jewish music for the harp. Sunita has also performed with the Minnesota Opera and Chicago Chamber Orchestra.
Sunita’s music flows from her heart to her harp, expressing herself to her audience with passion and grace. Whether at an intimate reception or main stage performance, Sunita interprets and communicates the depth of her feeling for traditional music. Classically trained and an master of her instrument, she has immersed herself in the worlds of Jewish and Celtic music, performing and recording with some of the great musicians of Europe, Israel, and the United States. Her recordings are popular around the world, and her books of music for harp have become standards with both students and professional harpists.
HARPER TASCHE is an internationally recognized leader among folk harp and cross-strung harp performers, composers, and teachers. He is a sought-after concert artist and clinician at major folk harp festivals, and in performances throughout the United States and Canada; a soloist heard on internationally broadcast television, radio, and feature film; a prize winner, and adjudicator, at harp competitions; a music coach and instructor to award-winning performers, composers, and music teachers; and was recently named “Millennium Harper of WashingtonState” by the international Harping for Harmony Foundation.
HARPER TASCHE delivers outstanding performances in the tradition of ancient Nordic and Celtic masters, evoking laughter, deep poignancy, and profound relaxation. His musicianship is interwoven with superb contemporary storytelling, and does not merely entertain but stimulates the mind, calms the body, and deeply touches the heart. Audience members frequently report feeling transported out of the concert hall and into a place of great natural beauty and peace.
HARPER TASCHE has released six critically-acclaimed solo CDs of his own,and appears as a guest artist on numerous others. He has written three books of music for folk harp, and authored a ground-breaking tutorial for the contemporary cross-strung harp.
HARPER TASCHE’s professional music career began at age 15 with a commission to compose and record a soundtrack for the United States Forest Service in Alaska. He continues to reflect the beauty of the Pacific Northwest, and the Norwegian immigrant culture of his childhood, in music which has been shaped by a classical music education as well as traditional and contemporary styles. His compositions for various instruments and voices have been performed by ensembles across the United States, in Canada, and recently at the Rachmaninov Academy in Russia.
HARPER TASCHE can be reached via www.harpcrossing.com. He currently lives in Seattle.
LOUISE TROTTER Combining a love for music with performing, Texan Louise Trotter is a versatile entertainer. She is a nationally recognized harpist, as performer, workshop leader, and panleist at Harp conferences. These include American Harp Society, Canadian Folk Harp Society, World Harp Congress, Edinburgh Scotland Harp Festival, Somerset Folk Harp Festival, Harp Con, and the Lyon and Healy Pop and Jazz Summer Harpfests. She was recently the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Society of Folk Harpers and Craftsmen for her promotion of the lever harp. Louise uses both pedal and lever harp in her concerts.
A native of Port Arthur, Texas, now living in Houston, Louise had classical training in piano and harp since early childhood. She was in the all-girl symphony at Texas Women’s University, then had advanced study with Mildred Dilling in New York City. She played several years with the Beaumont and Baytown (Texas) Symphonies. Her interest in modern harmony led to studies with the leading pop and jazz harpists in the country.
Louise has given pop workshops all over the U S, Canada, and the Clarsach (lever harp) Society of London and Edinburgh. Her spirit of fun and sharing brings out the most hesitant class members. She published harp arrangements, compositions, and “how-to” manuals, and has recorded ten CD albums of classical, pop, sacred, American, folk and country western music.