The Edinburgh International Harp Festival is run by The Clarsach Society/Comunn na Clàrsaich.
Established in 1931 at the close of the National Mòd in Dingwall, the Society’s main aim is to promote the clarsach and its music in Scotland and in the wider world harp community. This is done through regional Branches throughout UK and one special interest Wire Branch by organising events, courses and classes to suit the particular needs and enthusiasm of Branch members in each area.
One of the most important activities of the Society is to hire good quality harps to members at affordable prices. Through this scheme, some of the best-known performers and teachers, many of whom feature in this year’s Festival, were enabled to take their very first steps in successful careers.
To encourage those who attend one of the classes for beginners at the Festival and for those who are keen to continue playing, a series of follow-on classes for adult and child beginners will be arranged – so long as there is sufficient interest. This will offer the opportunity to consolidate, develop your skills and meet with other harp players. Full details will be issued during the Festival and arrangements finalised after that. The classes will take place in Edinburgh, probably on a Saturday – and harps will be provided.
The Society also collects and publishes music for the clarsach and was, in fact, first in the field to do this for members, when such arrangements and compositions were very few. The Society now publishes 40+ folios, which are available to all. Further information is available on the Society’s website.
An Annual Scholarship is offered to members to help with the cost of tuition where there is a need.
To encourage original music for clarsach, the annual Young Composer Award has been set up by The Clarsach Society, the prize to include a cash award and the premier performance of the winning entry at the Edinburgh International Harp Festival.