Leading up to the 13th World Harp Congress this July in Hong Kong, we’re talking with performers for the ever-popular WHC Focus on Youth showcase concerts. Check in each week as we present insights from these talented young artists.

Give us some background: when did you start playing, what’s your current age, and who do you study with?

“Don’t be afraid to take some risks in life as well as in music,” is advice that Noa Gabay lives by.

I am 19 years old and I am a bachelor student of Prof. Florence Sitruk in Geneva, Switzerland. I was born in Israel and moved to Wales at a young age, then returned to Israel at age 16 with my family. I started playing the harp when I was 5 years old. I saw it for the very first time at ballet performances of The Nutcracker and Swan Lake. I was so impressed from it’s beautiful sound, I instantly fell in love with the instrument.

Tell us about your WHC program. How did you choose your repertoire and what do you like about the music?

My program starts with Smetana’s “The Moldau,” arranged for harp by Hans Trnecek. It is a very beautiful, virtuosic piece. Smetana was inspired by the Moldau river, that passes through the city of Prague. It paints a musical picture, you can really hear the movement of the water in the music. I will perform two pieces from A Book of Hebrew Songs by Israeli composer Sergiu Natra. These pieces are based on songs of various Jewish communities. I will finish my recital with “La Danse du Moujik” from French composer Marcel Tournier’s Suite No. 4. It is an impressionist piece filled with emotions and colours.

Have you ever attended a World Harp Congress?

This will be my first time attending the World Harp Congress. It is a really special event because the whole harp community is coming together and celebrating our shared passion. I can’t wait!

What’s the first thing you’re going to do when you get to Hong Kong?

I haven’t been to Hong Kong before, so I am excited to walk around and explore the city. I am also looking  forward to taste the food which I have been told is incredible.

Which harpist do you most admire, and why?

I admire Emmanuel Ceysson’s incredible sound, Isabelle Moretti’s musicality and Marie-Pierre Langlamet’s attention to detail.

Which harpist are you most looking forward to meeting in person at the WHC?

I am excited to meet and talk with all the professional and young professional harpists that are coming from all around the world.

What’s your most memorable performing experience, and why?

Many great memories come to mind. Performing the Mozart concerto with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra was definitely memorable. It was my first time performing a concerto with an orchestra and I was thrilled to debut with one of my favorite concertos for harp. Working with a professional orchestra and creating music with them was very exciting. The whole experience was incredible.

What’s the best piece of advice someone has ever given you?

Don’t be afraid to take some risks in life as well as in music.

When you’re not playing the harp what do you like to do?

I am very interested in current events and politics, I read newspapers daily to stay updated with world news. It is important for me to have a better understanding of the world around us. I would also like in the future to be involved and hopefully make a difference in art and culture issues in my country. When I have some free time from playing the harp, my favorite thing to do is traveling. I love to explore new cities and hike in the countryside.

What’s on your playlist?

I enjoy listening to many different types of music. A lot of classical, Bach, Beethoven and Chopin are some of my favorite composers. I also love listening to live jazz. I enjoy discovering new music and artists from many different styles.

Finish this sentence: In 10 years I see myself…

I see myself as an active musician, performing and working on different creative projects.

To learn more about the World Harp Congress visit www.worldharpcongress.org.
To register for the 13th World Harp Congress July 7–13 2017 in Hong Kong, visit www.whc2017.org.

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The Harp Column Staff has been bringing you great editorial content, interviews, features, and reviews since 1993!

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