Keziah Thomas, Retreat to the Harp founder
As described by the New York Concert Review as ‘Stupendous…totally original and engaging’, British harpist Keziah Thomas enjoys the international reputation of a lively and exciting concert artist. A graduate of the Royal College of Music, where she studied with Daphne Boden, Keziah holds an ARCM diploma in performance and was the winner of the 2003 London Harp Competition, the 2008 Camac Harp Competition and the 2011 Contemporary Record Society Performing Artists Competition.
Keziah made her Carnegie Hall debut in 2010 with a recital of contemporary works which she went on to record on her 2014 album 'Crossing Waves'. As well as maintaining a busy teaching studio from her home in Kent, Keziah teaches for the Bromley Youth Music Trust and is a popular course tutor and workshop leader.
Hannah Phillips, founding tutor
Hannah Phillips is a Scottish and pedal harpist based in Glasgow. She studied both Scottish and pedal harp at the RSAMD graduating with a first class Bmus (hons) degree and a Postgraduate Diploma with Distinction. During her time studying she won numerous prizes including the Non- Pedal Harp Competition at the Wales International Harp Festival 2010 and was a finalist in the 2010 BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year competition. Hannah is committed to developing and extending the harp repertoire and writes and arranges music.
She is an experienced and enthusiastic teacher and is currently Scottish Harp tutor at the Junior Conservatoire of Scotland and The Glasgow Academy as well as having private pupils of all ages and abilities in and around Glasgow.
Diego Laverde Rojas, 2016 guest tutor
From Bogota', Colombia, musician Diego Laverde Rojas has played the arpa llanera, or lowland harp, since 1982. In Colombia, Diego taught in various music academies and was director of the Folkloric group of the Central University of Bogota', and toured the world as a musician with the "Ballet Folklorico Colombiano".
Diego either works as a soloist or as part of a traditional Venezuelan folk group, accompanied by a singer, a small guitar called a cuarto and percussion, which can include congas, bells, cajon and maracas. He plays in a group called Ensamble Criollo, with percussionist Wilmer Sifontes. They have named this music tropical as it blends his folk harp playing with Cuban Salsa and Afro Caribbean percussive rhythms. He also plays with Ensamble Latino, a Venezuelan-Colombian folk group based in London. He has played at various harp festivals in the UK, Scotland and Germany, as well as prestigious venues including the Royal Albert Hall.
Jessica Burton, 2017 Charney Manor Guest Tutor
Born and raised in Orkney, Jessica immersed herself in traditional music from a young age. She began playing piano when she was 8 years old, followed by the clarsach at 11. Jessica immediately fell in love with the instruments sound and it became her main instrument. She was initially taught clarsach by Mark Shiner, an Orcadian harp maker and was soon attending courses at the Edinburgh International Harp Festival. At 12 she became a member of fiddle group Hadhirgaan led by acclaimed fiddler Douglas Montgomery (Saltfishforty, The Chair). Douglas was and still is one of Jessica’s biggest musical inspirations. Through Hadhirgaan, Jessica was given many opportunities to perform over the years including a tour of Canada in 2005 and performances at Celtic Connections and The Scots Trad Music Awards.