Helen Davies

 Foto: Svend Withfelt

Foto: Svend Withfelt

Helen Davies’ career as a harpist is diverse and eclectic. Her wide-ranging musical life has seen her combine a distinguished orchestral solo-harpist career in Ireland and Scandinavia with scholarly research in 18th and 19th century harp music, arranging and performing Irish traditional harp music and the harp music of her native Wales, and since 1989, working in the field of contemporary improvised music and electronics with her husband, trumpet player and composer Palle Mikkelborg, with whom she has performed throughout Scandinavia, Australia, the Far East, China and the US. She has also worked closely with the renowned Copenhagen Royal Chapel Choir and has toured extensively with them. Together with the harpists Mette Franck and Anne Marie Høst, Helen has also multiple times organised the Harpestævne på Fuglsang – a gathering of harp pupils from Danish music schools at Fuglsang castle on the island of Lolland.

Helen studied harp in Wales with Ann Griffiths and music at Birmingham University (UK). In latter years, apart from her professional career with Palle Mikkelborg, her interest in early music and the Northern European folk tradition has inspired her to establish a duo with Poul Høxbro (flutes and percussion) and more recently a trio with Poul and well-known Norwegian musician, Gunnar Stubseid (hardanger fiddle). Helen has published several books of harp music and has featured on numerous recordings. Her solo CD Open the Door Softly was nominated for a Danish Music Award, and her most recent solo CD Chasing the Breeze was nominated for a Danish Radio Listener’s Prize.

At the Nordic Harp Meeting 2016, Helen was teaching two workshops: One for harp beginners, and another one for advanced harp players that focused on tunes found in some of the 18th century Danish collections (Ålholm, Reventlow, von Bulow, Rasmus Storm) which fit well on the harp. Helen also talked about the treasure trove of harp music written by 18th/19th century harpists at the Royal Theatre in Copenhagen. (Read more on Helen’s website)

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