Experience Pluck

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Helen Webby unpacks her harps - the Concert Grand and carbon fibre Irish harp – and presents a close and intimate tour of the world of harp: Wales, Ireland, Scotland, Bach and the Baroque, to Paris and La Belle Epoque.

This concert showcases the latest pieces written for specifically for Helen from her solo CD Pluck, including NZ composers Mark Smythe, Claire Cowan and Anthony Ritchie. Pluck was commissioned after the Christchurch Earthquakes, nominated for Best Classical CD in the 2013 NZ Music Awards, and was made into a DVD film Harps Make Fine Companions, recently screened by Television New Zealand.

Principal Harp with Christchurch Symphony, Helen Webby loves to take her harps out from the back of the orchestra, and tell their stories: made by her brother Kim Webby from South Island Red Beech, the Concert Grand harp is a work of art; the carbon fibre Irish harp is made by Davy Stuart and uses 21st century surfboard technology to bring the ancient harp in to contemporary music.

Helen’s dancing fingers will pluck her strings and your hearts in this magical night of harp.

"This is an exciting and valuable collection of works and Helen Webby is to be roundly congratulated for her vision and advocacy"…. Ken Young, The Critic’s Chair, Radio New Zealand Concert

Presented in association with Arts On Tour NZ.

  • Performance: Thursday 13 September, 7.30pm

Prices*: Adult $35.00; Student (with ID) $30.00; Senior Citizen (65+) $30.00; Groups of 6 or more $30.00; Groups of 15 or more $25.00 . *Service fees may apply.

Performance length: approx. To be advised (no interval). Latecomers will be seated when appropriate. Tickets are for general admittance seating. See Ticketing T&Cs for the Hannah's policies on phones, photos and large items

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Helen Webby

Born in Whangarei, Helen Webby began playing the harp at the age of twelve, and studied with Dorothea Franchi (Auckland), Rebecca Harris (Auckland), Edward Witsenburg (Holland) and Maria Graf (Germany). She graduated in 1989 with a Bachelor of Music in Harp Performance from the University of Auckland, undertook postgraduate studies in The Netherlands and then in 1996 completed a Masters degree in Harp and Music Teaching from the Hochschule for Music in Hamburg. She won numerous scholarships from The Netherlands Government (NUFFIC), the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), Creative New Zealand and NZSO Alex Lindsay Trust.

While based in Germany Helen led a busy career as a chamber and orchestral musician, and recorded her first CD with her German chamber group Ensemble Obligat. In 1996 Helen appeared as Acting Principal Harp with the NZSO, and in 2000 returned to New Zealand as Principal Harp with the Christchurch Symphony. Her subsequent concerto appearances, solo recitals and chamber recitals have been warmly acclaimed by critics. Helen toured for Chamber Music NZ and Arts on Tour NZ, premiered New Zealand works at the 2006 American Harp Society Convention, and performed concerts for the Brunei Music Society. In 2010 she performed with the New Zealand Symphony on their tour to Vienna and Germany. In 2012 Helen performed the Australasian premier of the Harp Concerto by Rautavaara with the Christchurch Symphony, and has just released on ODE Records the first anthology of NZ harp music, the CD 'Pluck'.

Along the way Helen has maintained a great interest in the celtic harp, winning a prize at the 1990 International Carolan Harp Competition (Ireland), and collaborating with Scottish guitarist Davy Stuart to record her latest CD The Golden Strand: celtic music for harp and guitar. 2008 the duo collaborated with New Zealand composers Gareth Farr and Chris Cree-Brown and toured a programme of new works with traditional music for Chamber Music NZ. 2011 Helen and Davy performed as main international guests at the Australian National Folk Festival in Canberra, and this year toured the length and breadth of New Zealand for Arts On Tour NZ.

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