celtic harp

About Robert Hart; a biography and about his music

Robert Hart's biography; about his music. Important influences such as harp players Alfredo Ortiz and Alan Stivell. Read about Paraguayan harp workshops and lessons. Listen to Robert's harp music samples and read biographical material Robert plays an original style of instrumental music on the Paraguayan Harp. The music is a fusion of Paraguayan, Latin, and Celtic styles, producing  contemporary romantic Australian folk music.

 

 SUBJECTS COVERED ON THIS PAGE

      1. Robert's Musical Life
      2. Recent experience and expertise
      3. Background
      4. Master Classes
      5. Harp Teaching workshops
      6. Paraguayan harp presentations
      7. Program notes
      8. Music samples typical of concert performances

   Robert's Musical Life 

robert with harp Robert, a contemporary master of the harp, lives in Mullumbimby near Byron Bay in Eastern Australia. He plays the Paraguayan harp at weddings, concerts, corporate functions, and gala events.  Robert regularly tours, performing at country and metropolitan concert venues

Robert plays his original style of instrumental music on the Paraguayan Harp. The music draws upon European, Paraguayan and Celtic music styles producing what Robert calls contemporary romantic Australian harp music.

Robert travels teaching the harp in workshops and master classes. Recently Robert has written a "hands on" course of harp lessons for the Paraguayan and Celtic harps which are carefully aligned to the needs of all students from absolute beginners through to advanced players.


Robert's Musical Background and experience

I had been playing the Spanish Guitar for 20 years when I came across folk harps in 1987. Folk harps are lighter and smaller than concert harps. There are two popular types in use today Celtic and Paraguayan.  I was fascinated by these instruments and their unique repertoire; While my mother was dying of cancer in 1987 I would play Alan Stivell's CD "A renaissance of the Celtic Harp"  for her every day.

Upon arriving in Byron Bay in 1988, the interest in folk harps was still alive. In 1992 I attended a Paraguayan harp-building course run by Andy Rigby of Melbourne Australia. Upon returning to Byron Bay I built my first harp (a small 30 string plywood model), which worked well enough for me to learn to play to a semi-professional level. 18 months later, I built a full size Paraguayan Harp using plans obtained from the USA.

At that time, there were no harp teachers or influences in Byron Bay, so my music evolved on its own, inspired by recordings of Alfredo Ortiz, a great contemporary master of the Paraguayan harp, together with recordings of Paraguayan street musicians and Celtic players such as Alan Stivell.

In 1993 I attended The Australian International Harp Festival held at Albury NSW where Alfredo and others were giving master classes. This was a most inspiring weekend for me, and it took years to integrate and perfect what was shown in these classes. Soon after, I obtained a grant to build Paraguayan Harps. 

Since 1993, I have composed over 80 pieces for the harp including songs and music for groups. More recently I have written and developed an interactive course of harp lessons which can be accessed on the internet. They are the basis for my teaching method, which has proven to be very effective and efficient in teaching folk harp playing in Australia. It will be released in book form early in 2004.

Robert currently performs and teaches the Paraguayan and Celtic harps, and holds workshops and master classes all around Australia.


Recent Musical Experience and Activities

Harp Teaching Workshops at Grafton N.S.W. July 2003

Robert held two days of highly rewarding harp classes for beginners and intermediate level harpers of all kinds. Held in conjunction with one of Geoff Welham's harp building workshops. As well as formal tuition there were many hours of harp playing and fun.

Tamar Valley Music Festival Tasmania January 2003

 St Albans Folk Festival† April 2002

A concert and Paraguayan Harp workshop were presented. The Workshop was attended by a very attentive and appreciative audience. The workshop demonstrated how to play typical Paraguayan rhythms. The harp players showed good ability to learn these syncopated rhythms.

Robertís music was warmly received over the three festival with a packed house and standing ovation at the final concert in the St. Albans Church. Celtic and Concert Harpers, who were exited to learn about the Paraguayan harp and learn new techniques and be introduced to the syncopated Latin rhythms, attended the Paraguayan harp workshop.

†2001 NATIONAL CONCERT TOUR SEPT 2001

During August and September 2001 Robert completed a very successful national tour of South east Australia through NSW, ACT, South Australia and Victoria Centres included Dubbo Adelaide Canberra Sydney Taree Grafton and other country districts.

The sound builder's exhibition Cooroy July 2001

This was an exhibition of instrument makers from all over  Australia  as part of the Queensland Biennial festival of music, held at the Old Butter Factory in  Cooroy. Robert displayed harps and gave a presentation on the Paraguayan harp The Presentation included  a brief history of the instrument, demonstrating the features of the Paraguayan harp as well as performing pieces of music to demonstrate its unique qualities and beautiful sound quality

  

THE NATIONAL FOLK FESTIVAL APRIL 2001

Robert attended over five days displaying harps and performing the Paraguayan harp.
Performances of Robert's music were also made at Grenfell and Dubbo in the mid-west of New South Wales Australia. 

2000 - 2002:

  Robert exported Celtic and Paraguayan harps to Europe ,USA and Japan
    


WORKSHOPS

1 PARAGUAYAN AND LATIN MUSIC FOR CELTIC HARPERS

This popular workshop is designed to introduce Celtic and other harpers to the exciting rhythms and musical forms of Paraguay and other Latin countries. Using well tried methods Robert shows how to play these syncopated rhythms in an easy way. This format is interesting and reveals a whole new musical world. Open to all harp players young and old as well as observers who just want to know more about this wonderful music.  

2 MASTER CLASSES and HARP TEACHING WORKSHOPS

Harp teaching Workshops can be presented for absolute beginners or intermediate to advanced  players.
Workshops range from half day to several days in length. Popular versions are 

  1. Half day usually two one hour sessions with a break between to allow for practice and refreshment

  2. One day with two one and a half hour sessions with practice and refreshment periods.

Master Classes are generally held over a period of several days. Quite often immediately before or after a main festival. Master classes may be fine tuned to a particular area of interest if required.

For more detail see Harp lessons Information sheet


PARAGUAYAN HARP  PRESENTATION

Designed to introduce the general public to the world of the Paraguayan harp.

A typical presentation may include:-

  1. Brief history of the Paraguayan harp and how it came to Paraguay
    with the aid of historic photos using the book 
    Latin American Harps, History Music and techniques
    by Alfredo Rolando Ortiz as a reference
  2. An overview of how it is constructed and how it is unique among folk harps
  3. Demonstrations using a varied selection of music, showing its unique qualities,
    in particular; its  magnificent tone quality and romantic musical expression . 
    These include techniques, rhythms, special effects etc.
  4. Audience interaction is encouraged at all parts of the presentation.
  5. Depending upon the time available the presentation can be from 30-60 minutes.

 

dancing full of joy, this little  "spotting" animation fellow says more than 1000 words!

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