Our presenters

Meet our in-person and online presenters, a veritable who’s who of the harp world.
We are so proud to host these incredible talents for Somerset Folk Harp Festival 2024

Debbie Brewin-Wilson

Bio

“My Muse, tho’ hamely in attire, May touch the heart.” said Robert Burns. There is nothing ‘hamely’ about Debbie Brewin-Wilson’s artistry as a musician and singer, and the combination of these skills with her passion for Robert Burns results in music that echoes ‘the wood note wild’ as Burns describes the natural and unpretentious singing he liked best. An experienced performer and teacher, Debbie’s repertoire also includes many traditional Scots ballads and Scottish jigs, reels, and strathspeys as well. She is also an ordained priest in the Episcopal Church, her current congregation being in nearby Point Pleasant Beach, NJ. To date, she has three solo CDs, Dream of Caledonia, Roots and Wings, and Love Came Down at Christmas, a mix of original and traditional songs. Cofounder, with Kathy DeAngelo of the Harper’s Escape, she was on staff at the Escape for all of its 32 years and co-authored the Escape tunebooks, Ten Years of Tunes, Another Ten Years of Tunes and The Parting Glass). Debbie has also published three song and harp arrangement collections: Burns for Bairns and Wood Notes Wild and her newest Harp of My King, a compilation of Celtic Tunes New & Old for Christian Worship, which also includes a CD companion. She created our Basically Beginning program in 2009. Beginners will be particularly glad to have a chance to be in-person in her workshops this year. She will also be doing the Beginner group for the Harpers’ Escape at Somerset Sunday July 21. Check out an interview with Debbie on the HarpSong® Podcast Presenter Website: Debbie Brewin-Wilson

Nicolas Carter

Bio

At home in two cultures, Nicolas Carter was raised in Asuncion, Paraguay, where he learned to play the Paraguayan harp and later in Minnesota. His principal teacher Isidro Caballero (Father to Paraguay’s harp genius Nicolasito) taught him in the traditional folk style of learning by ear, an “ideal way for me to learn, every note I have to hear and feel it.” Playing professionally since 1988 in a variety of settings, as accompanist to singer Lizza Bogado, to playing in a various trios and groups from “Son del Sur” (Song from the South, Latin-American folk music), and “Los Amigos” (traditional Mexican music) to ” Nube” (New World Fusion). As a solo harpist, Nicolas has had concerts in Europe, the United States, and Latin America. Nicolas combines his passion for music with a deep interest in theatre, and indeed, holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Theatre Direction from the University of Minnesota. His CDs, more than a dozen, reflect the several musical idioms from Latin to Fusion in which he is fluent. After living in Central America for a few years, Nicolas is now is based in White Plains NY and gigs all over the United States. Check out Nicolas’ interview on The HarpSong® Podcast. Presenter Website: Nicolas Carter

Sarah Deere-Jones

Bio

An outstanding performer of traditional & original music for harp and voice, Sarah has been a guest artist at the major harp festivals around the world. Often accompanied on guitar by husband Phil Williams, her music is an exciting blend of subtle & dazzling arrangements of traditional tunes and haunting singing of folk songs. She was classically trained at the Royal Academy of Music but has ever since, sought to break down the barriers between the two genres, and her research into the medieval harp in England has reclaimed the harp’s role as a wholly appropriate instrument for English traditional music. Born and brought up in Dorset, her material is mostly traditional from southern England, but with many of her own songs and tunes, and occassionally some Celtic jigs & reels. As well as performing traditional & medieval music, Sarah also gives lectures about the history of the harp around the world.

Dominique Dodge

Bio

Dominique Dodge is back at Somerset leading the Youth Harp Program. Dominique is a harper and singer who grew up in the White Mountains of New Hampshire and now divides her time between New Hampshire and Cape Breton. She has a passion for melody-driven dance music and responsive, rhythmic accompaniment, as well as for Gaelic songs, airs, and 18th century harp tunes. A former Fulbright Scholar and a 2012 graduate of the University of Limerick with an MA in Irish Music Performance, Dominique also holds a BA Honours in Scottish Music from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow. Dominique is a dedicated learner of Scottish Gaelic, which has had a profound influence on her music and continues to shape her sense of rhythm and phrasing. Her newly released album, “Cànan nan Teud” (The Language of the Strings) is now available. It features Gaelic songs from Cape Breton and explores the relationship between Puirt-à-Beul (mouth music) and traditional dance tunes.

Presenter Website: ​​https://dominiquedodge.com/

anna dunwoodie

Bio

We are so thrilled Anna is joining us this year in-person. Traveling from her home in New Zealand where she performs, composes, teaches, and leads ensembles Anna is passionate about helping you get to know your instrument, so you can share the fun sooner! In 2023 she became the artistic director for Harp Fest NZ 2023, the first harp festival in New Zealand going strong since 2004. Anna holds a Bachelor of Music (in Harp Performance) at Auckland University School of Music, and went on to gain a Diploma of Teaching, majoring in Music and English, as well as a  Diploma of Children’s Literature. Anna believes that lessons should be informative, practical, varied and have an element of interest and fun. She has been involved in arranging harp ensembles, harp weekends and retreats since 2001.  As a teacher, she feels that it is her goal to help develop a lifelong love of music. She is a big believer that everyone should join an ensemble. “The fun really starts when you bring your love of music and share it with other musicians.” 

Anna believes that becoming successful as a harpist takes dedication, diligence  and perseverance – there ain’t no magic fairy dust here, honey!

Presenter Website: https://www.annadunwoodie.co.nz/

Edie elkan

Bio

Sometimes a particular experience will connect with existing skills in such a way that a person will embark in an entirely new but inspired path. Such is the case for Edie Elkan, who with a strong background in music, experience as a teacher of piano, and an early grounding in playing the harp, found herself first, returning to the harp to assuage her own grief, and then discovering that the harp was being used in medical environments which in turn led her to found Bedside Harp in 2002, a New Jersey, hospital-based harp therapy program. In 2005 Elkan was recognized by the Society for the Arts in Health Care for her work at the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital’s cancer center, where, in a research project, she discovered that patients who listened to live harp music while receiving chemotherapy were less anxious that those patients who did not. Edie has published Everything You Ever Wanted to Know (about Harp Therapy) and her master’s thesis: The Edie Elkan Method of Teaching Folk Harp as an Instrument of Healing. Also available is a 4-set CD Oodles of Noodles, a recording of a workshop on ‘noodling’ presented at Somerset. Listen to a panel discussion with Edie and other members of the Therapeutic Harp community on the Impact of Covid on Therapeutic Music Presenter Website: Edie Elkan

Shelley Fairplay

Bio

From her first glimpse of the harp at age of three, Shelley Fairplay was itching to play. At nine, after time learning piano, her harp journey began. Soon she was playing in harp ensembles, regional and county orchestras, and providing music during theatre performances. From Cardiff, Shelley achieved her BMus and was invited to play a solo with the University Symphony. From the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Shelley received her Masters and soon after that her teaching diploma. Shelley is a fully qualified Primary School teacher with two years of classroom experience where she ran choirs, school orchestras, recorder groups and music workshops. She also has an on-line teaching program at StartHarp.com. where she is known as a thorough, fun and compassionate teacher. Shelley brings passion and energy to all things harp—and fun. This is her third year presenting at the festival and first time in-person at Somerset. Performer Website: Shelley Fairplay

hannah flowers

Bio

As a performer, singer, and educator, Minnesota-based harpist and singer Hannah Flowers seeks to imbue her music-making and teaching with effortless grace and fluidity. Known for her sensitive and lyrical accompaniment of songs as well as her syncopated and rhythmic accompaniment of dance tunes, Hannah enjoys exploring the full depth of traditional Irish music and song. Apart from being an active performer at festivals and events around the country, Hannah is a sought-after harp and song teacher both privately and at the Center for Irish Music in St. Paul, a non-profit community music school dedicated to handing down the tradition. Hannah holds a B.A. in music and a first class Honours M.A. in Irish Traditional Music Performance from Maynooth University in Ireland. Performer Website: Hannah Flowers

martha gallagher

Bio

Martha’s harp journeys have been filled with joy, wonderment and delight. Her diverse music background of being lead singer in a rock band and a blues/jazz band, a classical flautist with a symphony, a guitar-playing folk singer/songwriter beginning at age 12, and love of Celtic music infuses Martha’s harp playing with a wide variety of genres, sounds, and energies. She has appeared with such luminaries as The Chieftains, as well being featured on BBC-TV, public radio stations across the US and at festivals all over North America.  Martha finds joy in life through music and storytelling, sharing it through performances, recordings and inspiring workshops.

Performer website: adkharper.com

eileen gannon

Bio

Eileen Gannon is an acclaimed Irish harper based in St. Louis, MO. Eileen has one solo album, The Glory Days are Over, and appears on albums with Tommy Martin, Eimear Arkins, Bernadette NicGabhann, and Robert Ryan. With a bachelor’s degree in Music Performance from St. Louis University, and a master’s degree in Ethnomusicology from University of Limerick, Eileen is the director of St. Louis Irish Arts, the largest Irish music school in the US. She has toured and performed all over the world and is a regular tutor at international festivals. Eileen’s is known for her unique accompaniment style and clear tone. Her teaching style focuses heavily on technique and allows people at any point in their musical journey to learn something valuable. Performer Website: Eileen Gannon

maeve gilchrist

Bio

As a harper, composer, and producer Maeve Gilchrist thrives on innovation and improvisation – what she fondly calls “my musical patchwork quilt.” Steeped from an early age in both classical and traditional music, Edinburgh-born Maeve Gilchrist discovered jazz in her late teens which she pursued at Berklee School of Music in Boston subsequently becamming Berklee’s first lever harp instructor. Maeve has stretched the traditional boundaries of the harp taking the Celtic (lever) harp to new levels of performance and visibility. She tours internationally as a band leader and composer as well as belonging to a number of innovative collaborations including the prestigious Silkroad Ensemble, Arooj Aftab’s Vulture Prince Ensemble, progressive folk-quartet DuoDuo (featuring percussive dancer Nic Gareiss, cellist Natalie Haas and Yann Falquet of Quebecois super-group Genticorum) and a more electronics based project with Nashville—based bassist Viktor Krauss. She has appeared at such major music events as Celtic Connections in Glasgow, Tanglewood Jazz Festival, the World Harp Congress in Amsterdam and the historic opening of the Scottish Parliament. She has played with such luminaries as Yo-Yo Ma, Esperanza Spalding, Tony Trishka, Ambrose Akinmusire, Darol Anger and Kathy Mattea. Listen to an interview with Maeve on the HarpSong® Podcast. Performer Website: Maeve Gilchrist

robbin gordon-cartier

Bio

We are proud to be honoring Robbin this year with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Joyful, centered, and a consummate musician are words that describe the presence and playing of Robbin Gordon-Cartier. Dedicated early to the study of the harp, Gordon-Cartier spent long summers as a young harpist in Ireland studying at the Royal Irish Academy. Since then she has appeared nationally and internationally everywhere from Carnegie Hall to the National Symphony of Santo Domingo, at events honoring Lord Guinness, Cicely Tyson and Sir James Galway. She plays frequently at churches and gospel events. Robbin teaches an extensive and very successful harp program in the East Orange School District’s Cicely Tyson’s School of the Performing Arts where she works to bring the harp to the attention of a wide variety of young people, busting stereotypes. Her Cicely Tyson harp ensemble will be playing in our Friday lunchtime concert. Robbin led our Youth Harp Program in 2014 and 2015 and led the Teacher’s Symposium for 2 years. She has joined the faculty of Kean University in Union, NJ as Concert Artist/Adjunct Harp Faculty. Robbin has a CD out, Just As I Am. Check out Maureen’s interview with Robbin on The HarpSong® Podcast. Presenter Website: Robbin Gordon-Cartier

Rachel Hair

Bio

As well as being an acclaimed harper and dynamic teacher, and with five cd’s and four books of music, Rachel has contributed energetically during this difficult time to promote harp music events and classes on-line. Her youtube harp workshop series HARP at HOME, won her a second nomination as Tutor of the Year in the BBC Alba Scots Trad awards. In early April 2020 Hair coordinated the move of the Edinburgh International Harp Festival online, giving harpists around the world another way to engage in concerts and workshops, earning the Festival a further nomination as Event of the Year at the BBC Alba Scots Trad awards. Hair, who grew up in the Highlands, normally divides her time between Glasgow and the bewitching Isle of Man where she is exploring the music particular to the island. In the words of an Irish Music Today review of her newest album, SPARKS (with guitarist Ron Jappy) “Rachel helped to establish a modern harp sound with her trio line-up, but on her fifth album she’s gone back to her roots, back to basics, back to the music she most loves to play. Together with guitarist Ron Jappy, Rachel presents traditional tunes from Scotland, Ireland, and the Isle of Man, that mysterious land of mermaids, Manx cats and millionaires.” We’re catching her ‘live’ on-site this year thanks to her US touring schedule. Check out the HarpSong® Podcast interview with Rachel. Presenter Website: Rachel Hair

Grainne Hambly

Bio

From her expressive renderings of airs to dynamic dance tunes, Grainne Hambly demonstrates ‘absolute mastery of the Irish harp’. Her accompaniments while firmly traditional, incorporate and celebrate contemporary rhythms with dexterity and flawless taste. Popular worldwide, Grainne has three solo CDs, two music books and a collaborative CD with William Jackson. Gráinne has developed a popular online programme of workshops as well as participating in many online performances. With a master’s degree from Queens University in Belfast and years of workshop experience, her teaching skills match her playing; she is patient, clear, and sharp-eyed. She teaches at most of the major summer schools in Ireland and is in much demand here when she’s on tour. She was also on staff at You Gotta Have Harp’s Harpers’ Escape Weekend. She will be teaching at Somerset’s Sunday Harper’s Escape program. For the advancing student, eager to take on challenges, (warning: she makes it look easy!) Gráinne is a great choice. We’re glad to be able to host Gráinne on-site this year and see her in-person! Listen to an interview with Gráinne on The HarpSong® Podcast. Presenter Website: Gráinne Hambly

Deborah henson-conant

Bio

As our 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, It’s always great to have Deborah Henson-Conant on our faculty to challenge you to boldly go where no harper has gone before. Since one reviewer called her the ‘wild woman of the harp,’ Deborah describes herself as being “cross-genre: jazz-pop-comedy-blues-flamenco-celtic.” During her impressive career which includes a CD that was nominated for a Grammy, Deborah has brought the harp out of the demure background and into the electric limelight! Mixing music and theatre Deborah performs solo or with a symphony with equal ease. When orchestrating her own music, she often engages symphonic musicians in unexpected ways. Writes another reviewer “her life, her shows, her instrument, her workshops, and her music are all about transformation.” Listen to an interview with DHC on The HarpSong® Podcast.

Presenter Website: https://www.hipharp.com/

ann heymann

Bio

Ann Heymann is harpist, historian, teacher and one of the leading figures in the modern international revival of the early Irish harp. A 2021 Somerset Lifetime Achievement Award winner Ann is a pioneer in the wire-strung harp revival. Even after her 50+ year career she is still finding new and exciting avenues of discovery and even rediscovering works that she has previously recorded. Ann is extremely generous with her research and music. She is a firm believer that the center of research for the Early Irish Harp needed to be in Ireland so she inspired Siobhan Armstrong to start The Historical Harp Society of Ireland.

Presenter Website: https://www.annheymann.com/biography.htm

emily hopkins

Bio

Emily began playing harp in 2001 under the instruction of the late Jeanne Fintz-Goldstein, who was a member of The Angelaires and student of Carlos Salzedo. Emily was a part of The Metropolitan Youth Orchestra of NY, performing in Carnegie Hall in 2009, and is a 2012 member of MTA MUSIC (Music Under New York). She attended CUNY Hunter College and studied harp under the instruction of Alyssa Reit and graduated from the Muse Scholar Program with two Bachelor’s degrees in Music Performance and Media Studies. Emily is now a professional electroacoustic harpist, composer, and YouTuber who mixes the harp with emerging music technology, including pedal effects, modular synth, and other forms of sound manipulation. Her most recent notable work includes being a featured performer in the DreamWorks feature film Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken (2023), and the composer for the soundtrack to Heavenly Vessel from The Line animation studio. ​ Emily works on all projects with her partner Russ, who is a professional audio engineer, and they are currently composing and recording for films, video games, and art installations together from their studio in Long Island, New York.

Presenter Website: https://www.emilyharpist.com/

william jackson

Bio

Simply listing William Jackson’s achievements, as musician, performer and composer can’t come close to capturing the brilliant spirit, musical intelligence, dry wit, and sympathy that he brings to every instrument he plays, piece he composes and class he teaches. Although the harp is his primary instrument, Billy’s knowledge and experience allows him to move comfortably from the bouzouki to the tin whistle. In 1976 he was a founding member of Ossian, a breakthrough Scottish band. His richly woven and bold compositions, The Wellpark Suite, St. Mungo, Inchcolm, and A Scottish Island, reveal him as a master of orchestration with a sensitivity to contemporary tastes and the traditional idiom. His most recent composition (2020) is an as yet untitled suite celebrating the connections between Ireland and Scotland over the years. Now living in Ireland, Jackson and Gráinne Hambly have been hosting concerts from their home in County Mayo. His CD with Gráinne Hambly debuted at Somerset in 2009. Besides many CDs he also has one book, Scottish Traditional Music, complementary to the CD The Ancient Harp of Scotland. He is leading our Harpers’ Escape Add-On at Somerset on Sunday. In 2016 Jackson was recognized with Somerset’s Lifetime Achievement Award. We’re happy to have Billy on-site in-person this year. Podcast interview with Billy can be found here on HarpSong®. Presenter Website: William Jackson

Liza Jensen

Bio

Liza Jensen has studied harp maintenance and mechanics privately under the tutelage of master harp builders Pat Dougal and John Pratt. She has worked out in California with Triplett Harps and is a warranty repair service for their company. She is the only American woman to be invited by Jakez Francois, president of Camac Harps, the most innovative harp manufacturer in the world, to become a warranty repair service for their company. When she’s not working in her studio in New York City, Liza is globetrotting on her harp maintenance missions and has been all over the world. Since we’ll have her on-site and in-person (yay!) you’ll have the option to bring your harp to her for regulation and minor repairs. To schedule your harp regulation/repair with Liza on-site, click here to sign-up. To hear more about Liza’s harp journey, check out her interview on The HarpSong® Podcast. Presenter Website: Liza Jensen

erika lieberman

Bio

Erika Lieberman fell in love with the harp as she was walking around a renaissance festival in California 25 years ago. Enchanted by the instrument, she moved to NY a few months later and the first thing she did was find a teacher. The rest is history… literally! Now Erika and her harps can be seen performing at renaissance festivals all over the East Coast, including Robin Hood’s Medieval Faire (CT), the Sparta Renaissance Faire (NJ), the Maine Renaissance Festival, the Maryland Renaissance Festival, the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire, and more. Erika’s experience as a solo harpist, a member of various ensembles and folk bands, and her graduate studies in Film Scoring and Music Technology at New York University give her a diverse and rich musical background. When she’s not time traveling to the 16th century, Erika plays at weddings, nursing homes, theatrical events, and teaches beginner harp students at a music school in Portchester, NY. Presenter Website: https://www.erikatheharpist.com/

jen narkevicius

Bio

Dr. Jen Narkevicius teaches and performs in the Washington DC area. Her innovative teaching mixes techniques based on her experience educating gifted and talented students, along with her full career in human factors and ergonomics. For nearly 15 years she has worked with various musicians to help them prevent injuries and to play efficiently and effectively. Jen is a founding member and Secretary of the National Standards Board for Music Ergonomics, is Co-Director of Harp Quest, and is an instructor at the Ohio Scottish Arts School as well as the Competition Committee Chair and SHSA judge. Check out Jen’s weekly blogs on topics ranging from traveling with a harp to ongoing training and self-care.

Presenter Website: https://www.jeniuscreations.com/

alfredo Rolando ortiz

Bio

Cuban born Alfredo Rolando Ortiz is one the leading performers of the Paraguayan harp and has a multi-cultural repertoire which covers the folk, classical and popular music of many countries, in addition to his own compositions. He began playing the Venezuelan folk harp at 15, four years after his family emigrated there, a few months later began playing the Paraguayan harp and he eventually used music to support his medical studies. Dr. Ortiz also has a background in music therapy and sensory motor integration, which he draws on in his body/harp workshops. His compositions and publications are used in many schools and by many harp ensembles around the world. In 2008, he was commissioned by the Tenth World Harp Congress to compose a piece, which was then performed by 232 harpists at the Congress. When not performing with symphonies and orchestras, doing concerts or recording, Dr. Ortiz is traveling and doing lectures and master classes. In 2011, in honor of his 50 years of contributions to the harp community, Alfredo was awarded the very first Lifetime Achievement Award by the Somerset Folk Harp Festival. Presenter Website: Alfredo Rolando Ortiz

christa patton

Bio

Christa Patton, originally a classically trained oboist, was always drawn to the ancient sound of double reeds. While her brother was collecting recordings of classic rock, Christa was searching for LPs of crumhorns and shawms. A late bloomer as a harpist, Christa was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to study the Baroque harp with Mara Galassi in Milan, Italy just as she was turning 40. She is a noted historical harpist and early wind specialist who has performed with many of today’s premier early music ensembles including Piffaro the Renaissance Band, Early Music New York, Boston Camerata, The King’s Noyse, Folger Consort, Newberry Consort, Apollo’s Fire, Parthenia, ARTEK and Chatham Baroque. Since one of her specialties is 17th century opera on Baroque harps, Christa has performed with New York City Opera, Wolf Trap Opera, Opera Atelier and the Opera Theater of Saint Louis. She is musical director of the Baroque Opera Workshop at Queens College, focusing on the works of early 17th century composers. Christa has been on the faculty of Rutgers University as well as the Madison Early Music Festival, Amherst Early Music Festival and Pinewoods Early Music Week, among others. She is a past president of the Historical Harp Society. She has toured throughout the Americas, Europe, and Japan. 

Presenter Website: Christa Patton

sue richards

Bio

Sue Richards is a traditional Celtic harper; she studied classical harp as a teen at Oberlin College and then Ohio State University. When she discovered Celtic harps, she immediately ignored the pedal harp and turned to the Irish and Scottish music of her heritage, winning the American National Scottish Harp Championship four times. She developed and taught the harp program at the Ohio Scottish Arts School. Sue performs and composes with Ensemble Galilei in multi-media concerts sponsored by the National Geographic Society and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She has three solo recordings, three books of arrangements of Celtic music for harp, and has published a book of her own compositions, “Morning to Midnight.” Recently Sue has teamed with guitarist Robin Bullock and they have released their CD, ” Highland Ramble.” Currently Sue teaches in Asheville, NC.

 

Presenter Website: http://www.suerichards.net, http://www.egmusic.com

Ailie Robertson

Bio

Ailie Robertson is a multi-award winning composer, and harpist from Scotland. She is widely regarded as one of Scotland’s leading traditional musicians and Celtic harpists. A five-time National Mod Gold Medalist and a BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year finalist, Ailie also won first prize at the inaugural London Harp Competition, was judged best overall musician at the Edinburgh Competition Festival and won the St Albans New Roots award. Her debut solo album ‘First things first’ won the ‘Live Ireland’ award for ‘Best Instrumental Cut of the Year’. She has performed and taught all over the world, released 3 solo Celtic Harp CDs and published 7 volumes of harp sheet music.

Presenter Website: https://www.ailierobertson.com

kim robertson

Bio

As one of the pioneers of the American folk harp, Kim Robertson’s style and approach to the instrument is uniquely personal and original. Trained classically on piano and orchestral harp, she brings a contemporary touch to both her original compositions and her arrangements of Celtic music. Her skill and stage presence as a performer has brought her a loyal following and she is an experienced and sensitive teacher as well. She has many CDs, among them Highland Heart, Shady Grove and Shall We Gather as well as numerous volumes of harp arrangements and several instructional videos. Though she makes her home in Wisconsin, she spends a good deal of the year touring both as a solo artist and with other performers. Kim has presented and performed at nearly every Somerset festival, and with good reason! She’s got a clear style and can get everybody, seemingly effortlessly, working together and learning with humor and grace. No matter what the topic, her workshops are packed (this year we’ll have to spread out!). Kim received our Lifetime Achievement Award in 2019. She’ll be here in-person in Parsippany. Welcome back, Kim. Presenter Website: Kim Robertson

amelia romano

Bio

A concertizing lever harpist programming classical re-imaginations alongside original works, Amelia, received her master’s in music at San Francisco State University under the tutelage of Karen Gottlieb, retired second harpist of the San Francisco Symphony. Her latest album, “Levers Engaged: Classical Works Re-imaged for Harp” and sheet music collection “Classical Re-imaginations,” present the lever harp as a valid voice in classical music. A composer and arranger, she is equally at home writing Latin America inspired works for solo harp as she is adapting classical pieces for chamber collaborations. Amelia offers virtual workshops and seminars on best lever-shifting practices, and tools for adapting and performing chromatic works on the instrument. Presenter Website: Amelia Romano

adriANo sangineto

Bio

We are thrilled to welcome back Adriano Sangineto. An Italian musician, composer and arranger specializing in Celtic Harp whose energy is infectious. He graduated from the Milan Conservatoire where he studied clarinet and experimental composition. Adriano spent his youth in his father Michele Sangineto’s luthiery where he met and was inspired by numerous musicians, such as Nicanor Zabaleta, Alan Stivell, Derek Bell, Carlos Nunez and more. In 2002 he started playing the Celtic harp. As a self-taught harpist he embarked on the path of free experimentation in the most diverse musical fields: from ancient to modern music, passing through classical music, new age, pop, and re-evaluating Italian and European popular music with original arrangements. Adriano also composes for soundtracks, theater, and advertising and has released 13 albums (as a soloist and with his bands) and numerous collaborations with artists from the Italian and European scene. Presenter Website: Adriano Sangineto Band Website: Ensemble Sangineto

cindy shelhart

Bio

Double-strung harp expert Cindy Shelhart is a performing artist, composer, and creator of The Technique Triangle™️. Cindy created the system for the growing number of double-strung harp (DSH) players who bring this cool harp home, but then hit the “now what?” wall. They want unique DSH tips and effects, but don’t know how to add them to the music they already play, or how to create their own arrangements. Shelhart’s streamlined Technique Triangle™️ takes players from “stuck” to “sounds like a double” with double-strung excellence at every level. Cindy is the author of the method book Make Mine a Double and The Double Dozen Series of repertoire collections. She has performed and presented for many national harp organizations and music festivals. Her solo albums Limberlost Angel and That Night in Bethlehem have been featured on public radio and podcasts, and she is the first DSH player to win the US National Scottish Harp Championship™. Presenter Website: Cindy Shelhart

sunita staneslow

Bio

Originally from Minnesota, Sunita spent the past two decades living in Israel, teaching and performing with local musicians. A graduate of the Manhattan School of Music and a passionate instructor, Sunita is a frequent presenter at folk harp festivals and retreats across North America. She has been teaching at the Somerset Folk Harp Festival for the past twenty years! Her love of travel and adventure has inspired her to become a versatile performer and arranger. Working as a therapeutic harpist in a children’s hospital in Tel Aviv enhanced her lyrical and improvisational style. Sunita’s books of harp arrangements are played by harpists around the world and published by Afghan Press, Harp Column Music, Mel Bay, Seraphim Music and Sylvia Woods. You can find Sunita on YouTube, Spotify, walking her dog by the sea in Shetland, learning to knit or helping her husband restore an old stone house on the most northerly isle in Shetland. She leads boutique harp tours in Scotland and Italy. 

Presenter Website: Sunita Staneslow

tomoko sugawara

Bio

Tomoko Sugawara studied the harp at Tokyo University of the Arts and cultural history at Seijo University, Tokyo. She has been playing the kugo since 1991, and has conducted research and activities in New York, funded by Asian Cultural Council grants in 2007–8, 2014, and 2018–19. She has also received awards from the Dunhuang Foundation (2019 and 2020), and NYC Arts and Cultural Affairs (2020). In 2013 Tomoko founded the Eurasia Consort, which performs music from the Chinese Tang Court (seventh – ninth century), using transcriptions made by musicologists for instruments Tang Court musicians played. In 2018 and 2019, she was a visiting researcher at Shanghai Conservatory of Music, where she researched Tang Dynasty music and taught the kugo. Tomoko enjoys playing harps from East & West, such as the kugo, the Renaissance harp and the Baroque triple harp. Presenter Website: Tomoko Sugawara

angel tolosa

Bio

Somerset is thrilled to welcome back Angel Tolosa. Angel was born in Caracas, Venezuela, and was drawn to popular and traditional Venezuelan music from an early age. Although he began playing the ‘cuatro’ (a smaller South American version of the guitar), he switched to the harp at 14. Angel is considered one of the best harpists of his generation, his versatility lends itself to various styles with great technical and rhythmic skill. At 18, with his brother José Luis Tolosa, who will be presenting alongside Angel at Somerset, founded the A Contratiempo Ensemble, which provided a framework where musicians could explore different Venezuelan musical genres exclusively for the harp. Angel is currently a professor and member of the Official Association of Culture of the Táchira State Educational Zone; a Venezuelan representative in the First Mexican Folkloric Harp School in Durango, Mexico; as well as a teacher in various institutions. Angel and his brother have taught and performed around the world where they have been a part of some of the most important harp festivals in the world.

simcha tzuf

Bio

Simcha is a multi-instrumentalist, but it is the harp that calls most to him. Join Simcha on a musical journey with songs from ancient Turkey, spiritual Jewish Melodies, and his favorite American Folk Songs. Simcha lives In the heart of the Galilee mountains of northern Israel with his family who perform as the Tzuf Family Band. Simcha on the Celtic Harp, his wife Rachel on the Turkish Saz, Kamancheh, and guitar, their son Nachman on Flute, their daughter Orah on the Miriam Frame Drum with the two youngest Nehorai and Daryah on the recorder, flute, and small harp. 

Experience the meditative ‘harp in the wind’ song in the healing pentatonic scale, and relax to the sound of ocean waves from the ocean wave drum. ‘Music has always been an important part of our lives, through it we find connection, healing, and joy’.

Presenter Website: https://tzufartandsoul.com/