The final will be held on Sunday September 27th at St Mary's, Barnes. By invitation only.
Mari Kelly has recently graduated from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama with a First Class Honours degree after studying with Caryl Thoms from the age of 17. The recipient of several national awards, including Rotary Young Musician of the Year, Mari made her debut at the Royal Albert Hall in London in 2016, and continues to give both solo and duo concerts throughout the United Kingdom.
Mari started playing the harp under the guidance of Meinir Heulyn and served as principal harpist with the National Children’s Orchestra of Great Britain for three years. Since then she has competed successfully on both a national and international level, reaching the semi-finals of the Dutch Harp Competition and receiving a special prize at the Szeged International Harp Competition in Hungary.
During her time at College, she has won the chamber music prize, reached the finals of the concerto competition and received the Daniel Emlyn Davies and Royal Welch Fusiliers prize.
Clara Gatti Comini
Clara Gatti Comini is an Italian harpist studying as a Trinity Laban scholar with Gabriella Dall’Olio. In 2016 she obtained a Harp Diploma at the Conservatoire à Rayonnement Régional in Paris. Prior to this, she studied in Spain at the Conservatori Municipal de Música de Barcelona. She regularly attends masterclasses with internationally renowned harpists such as Fabrice Pierre and Park Stickney. Besides her harp studies, in 2017 she obtained a BA in International Development from King’s College London. The highlight of 2020 has been winning the third prize at the London Camac Harp Competition and performing Mozart’s Flute and Harp Concerto at Wigmore Hall as part of Trinity Laban’s program. From a very young age, she has won various competitions including “Arpa Plus” and “L’Arjau” in Barcelona. She has held solo recitals including in the Lingotto in Turin, and regularly performs at the Queen’s House, St. John’s Smith Square and the ORNC Chapel in London. She performed the UK premiere of Ada Gentile’s solo piece for harp “Scaglie di Mare” for Borough New Music. Clara is a current Pan-Caucasian Youth Orchestra reserve and a Young Musicians Symphony Orchestra member.
Zoë began the harp at age 7, studying as a tradition/folk musician with Sharon Caroll in Northern Ireland. After 3 years of studying harp, Zoë was encouraged to apply for the prestigious music college, Chetham’s School of Music for which she auditioned and successfully secured a place. For the past 8 years at Chetham’s, Zoë has been studying with Marie Leenhardt as her principle teacher and Eleanor Hudson as an ensemble teacher. Under the guidance of Marie, Zoë has participated in various competitions such as the North London Camac Harp competition and the Chetham’s concerto competition. Whilst developing her repertoire and skills at Chethams’s, Zoë was able to partake in many orchestral concerts and events both within and outside of school. She has played lead harp in the Chetham’s Symphony Orchestra and second harp in the Ulster Youth Orchestra during a European tour in 2018 to mention a few. Zoë has played under the baton of world renowned conductors such as Jac Van Steen, Franz Krager Paul Mann plus many more. She has played in venues such as The Bridgewater Hall, Ulster hall, Slovak Radio Hall, Royal Academy of Music and more.
My music career started at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Cardiff, aged 8. My principal instrument the Piano. I was later introduced to the Harp and Guitar, the Harp becoming a joint principal instrument with the Piano. At the RWCMD I achieved DipABRSM on the Piano and Grade 8 on the Guitar enabling me to be a member of the National Youth Guitar Ensemble. My Harp career intensified when I began winning at the National/ Urdd Eisteddfodau, most recently at the 2020 Eisteddfod T winning first prize in the category solo instrumentalist age 19-25.
I won first prize in the Francis Jeffries Competition leading me to perform the Mozart Flute and Harp Concerto with the Rhondda Symphony Orchestra. I became a permanent member of the orchestra performing at venues including the BBC Hoddinott Hall.
I was selected to play in the National Youth Orchestra of Wales and performed at St Davids, Hereford Cathedral and St Davids Hall in Cardiff.
I joined the London Opera Production Limited who bring together children, all with disabilities working on a programme of music to create a small theatre production.
At the end of my time in the RWCMD I was awarded the Junior Conservatoire Principal Prize. September 2019, I started at the Royal Academy of Music under the tuition of Karen Vaughan working towards my Bachelor of Music. I was the harpist for the First Year Masters Conductors Concert at RAM. Looking forward to my second year and all the opportunities to come.
Hailing from the Beara Peninsula, Co. Kerry, Tara Viscardi is an emerging classical and Irish traditional harpist. Tara is currently pursuing postgraduate study at the Royal College of Music and the Civica Scuola di Musica Claudio Abbado Milan, studying with Ieuan Jones and Irina Zingg. Regularly appearing as a soloist, chamber musician and traditional player, she has performed extensively across Ireland and the UK, with further engagements taking her to Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Belgium and Hong Kong. Highlights include performances for Irish President Michael D. Higgins and HRH The Prince of Wales, as well as featuring as soloist in young artist programmes at the National Concert Hall Dublin (Young Platform Series), Blackwater Valley Opera Festival (Irish Heritage Award Winners), Bloomsbury Festival London (New Wave Recital Series), World Harp Congress Hong Kong (Young Artist Masterclass Programme), Boyle Arts Festival, and the Dublin Philharmonic Society recital series. Since residing in London, Tara has performed at venues including the Wigmore Hall, Cadogan Hall, St. George's Hanover Square, the Irish Embassy and the Royal Over-Seas League's Princess Alexandra Hall.
A passionate traditional Irish musician, Tara has appeared Live on RTÉ Ceili House and Radio Kerry, and regularly performs her own arrangements and compositions. She has been special guest at the Cairde na Cruite (Irish Harp Association) annual spring concert, also performing at their Rising Harp Stars series.