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The music of Devon

PUBLISHED: 09:41 27 June 2014

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A quartet of women are taking the Classical music scene by storm. ELLIS TAYLOR talks to Harriet Adie about her Devon roots and the success of 4 Girls 4 Harps

It is no secret that culture and music is a big part of our county, and the talent that comes from Devon is in no way restricted to one genre or instrument. Harriet Adie, member of leading quartet group 4 Girls 4 Harps, is a fantastic example of this following the recent success of the group’s latest CD, 4 Girls 4 Harps at Christmas.

Formed in 2000 by Harriet, Keziah Thomas, Eleanor Turner and Elizabeth Scorah, 4 Girls 4 Harps blew minds with their incredible musical talent, impressed critics and are now known as the leading harp ensemble in Europe. The quartet brilliantly displays the full scope of concert harps and they have played at many events and venues, including The World Harp Congressin Dublin.

"When I started learning I was living in the Middle East with my parents, so finding a harp teacher - and replacement harp strings - was quite tricky"

2009 saw the release of the girls’ debut album,Fireworks and Fables,and they have been featured on BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio 3and Classic FM, to name but a few. They enjoy presenting new works and frequently commission original works.Harriet, who is from North Molton, explains what sparked her interest in the unique instrument:

“I started the harp aged 10 after hearing it in ballet music and wanting to make the same sound. When I started learning I was living in the Middle East with my parents, so finding a harp teacher - and replacement harp strings - was quite tricky, but we somehow managed and things went on from there.”

Musical interest also runs in the family, as Harriet’s mother, Penny Adie, is the Artistic Director of the popular Two Moors Festival which began in 2001.

December 2013 saw the release of4 Girls 4 Harps at Christmas which was quickly acknowledged by BBC Music Magazine as well as the Sunday Express. The album was also shortlisted by David Mellor for his Christmas CD of the Year on Classic FM. The successful album was accompanied by a 14 date concert tour of venues in London and the South East of England.

Now the girls are looking forward to 2015 which sees the quartet’s 15 year anniversary. “We are planning some celebratory concerts for this and hopefully commissioning a new piece as well,” explains Harriet. 4 Girls 4 Harps also hope to release another CD, potentially two, which will showcase many of the works commissioned and composed by the group over their 15 year career.

4 Girls 4 Harps will be playing at various venues and festivals throughout the coming year. For tour dates and more information see 4girls4harps.com

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