Q and A with Isabelle Perrin

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Just over a year ago we featured World Harp Congress Artistic Director Isabelle Perrin in our March-April 2015 issue. At that time Perrin, was recovering from hand surgery, continuing to build her thriving teacher studio, and looking ahead to plans for the 2017 World Harp Congress, in Hong Kong. We caught up with Perrin to find out how things are going for her. 

Q: So it’s been a whole year since we featured you on the cover of Harp Column! Tell us what you’ve been up to since then.

Since last year, my left hand has improved a lot after the operation. And even though I cannot play as long and as much as before, I feel that I got back to the level I had before the operation and enjoy so much to play! I have done a small chamber music concert in the fall with my colleagues at the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo, playing Debussy’s trio Sonata, and I will now be playing the Mozart flute and harp concerto in Shanghai. So, it is a bit of a challenge to be back on stage after almost three years off, but I really look forward to it!

My class in Oslo is also increasing a lot and many very exciting things are happening there! Last summer the Academy bought an original Cousineau single-action harp, and this year a Camac electric blue harp. So we have this month the visit of Maria Christina Cleary who is going to give us some lectures and individual lessons on the very special pedaling of the single-action harp and next year we will have a strong partnership with the composition department when each harp student will work closely with a composition student who is going to write a piece especially for her (him) and some of them will be written for the electric harp!

Q: You are still the Artistic Director of the World Harp Congress. Can you give us any hints about what people can expect next summer in Hong Kong?

The next WHC in Hong Kong will be as every congress very exciting, but this time it might be even more exciting. Just think, for the first time it will be held in Asia! And we already know that one of the big highlights will be the concert with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra and two of the most exciting and renowned harp soloists. And of course, working closely with Dan Yu, the entire Asian harp world will be in the light. The harp community [in Asia]is growing so much and so fast there that we need in the Western world to know about it and discover all they can offer us.

A: You’re also on the faculty at MusicAlp 2016, along with Jana Bouskova, Emmanuel Ceysson, and Marie-Pierre Langlamet. That sounds like a star-studded lineup! Can you tell us more about that program?

Yes, MusicAlp is a wonderful adventure and I have been the very first harp teacher on the faculty, already over 15 years ago. So it is a long love story! Three years ago the course moved from Courchevel to Tignes. Both are situated in the French Alps, but Tignes is quite more exciting as the resort offers a lot of sport activities as well as the music courses. Every year there is a number of students coming with their family to take some vacation afterwards, the mountains are so beautiful in the summer. And for me, it is always so exciting to get to meet many new students, most often coming from all over the world! The instruments are provided by Camac, but the students are free to bring their own as well, there are plenty of rooms for all of them.

Q: Anything else you want to let Harp Column readers know about?

Just that I look forward to meeting many of Harp Column readers either in Tignes, at my summer course, in Oslo at the Academy, or in Hong Kong at the WHC in July 2017, or anywhere else that will find us in the same place at the same moment!!

Read more about Isabelle Perrin at www.isabelle-perrin.eu and in Harp Column’s March-April 2015 issue.

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