A Harp Concerto with Katryna Tan

Hans Cerdenia

The Harp - a timeless instrument that conjures visions of angels and heavenly beings.Impeccably clear in  sound, elegantly beautiful in form, exacting in skill to the wielder. It calms the mind, relaxes the body, soothes the soul, and engages the heart. The harp is a rare and beautiful thing. So rare that in the Philippines, only a handful are skilled and knowledgeable in playing its many strings. So beautiful that it inspires awe and wonder to all who see and hear its music.

The Isolde lever harp


On the 2nd of June at 6pm, Singapore's premier harpist, Katryna Tan will give us a glimpse of the magnificence of the harp. A multi-awarded harpist, she was awarded the prestigious national Young Artist Award in 2005 by the National Arts Council of Singapore and holds a Masters of Music degree in Harp Performance from the University of Michigan, USA.

She has rendered wonderful harp performances in Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, Macau, and has presented her works in concerts in Paris and in Washington. Her compositions have also been performed at the World Harp Congress 2011 in Canada, and has been hailed as one of the Asian Harp Masters at the Asian Harp Festival in Korea.

Joining Katryna is Filipino harpist Joann Cerdenia, a graduate of Robert Schumann Hochschule in Dusseldorf, Germany and a former student of Lourdes de Leon-Gregorio, the forerunner of the harp playing in the Philippines. As the founder of the HarpRoom, she aims to propagate harp music in the Philippines and instill the love and appreciation of the instrument in the country. Also performing and adding their vast talents and skills to the concert are Jesper Colleen-Mercado and flutist John Raymond Sarreal. Jesper Colleen-Mercado is the principal pianist of the ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra under Maestro Gerard Salonga, has travelled with the multi-awarded UP Concert Chorus as their resident pianist in their 20th international concert tour and has also performed with Ms. Lea Salonga and the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra in 2014. John Raymond Sarrea is a world-class former child prodigy who started playing the flute at the age seven and who has been featured twice as a soloist with the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra. He was nominated as best instrumentalist at the Aliw Awards in 2012.

From left to right: Harpist Joann Cerdenia, pianist Jesper Colleen Mercado, and flutist John Raymond Sarrea.

Capping off the roster of highly-talented artists will be the Manila String Machine: a group of musicians from various prestigious orchestras in the country such the San Miguel Philharmonic Orchestra, Manila Symphony Orchestra, Manila Philharmonic Orchestra, Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra, the FILharmoniKA and the ABS-CBN Orchestra. Their eclectic influences and different musical backgrounds inspired the group to create a repertoire that would cater to a wide range of musical tastes; thus making the group known as the first Filipino string quartet to perform tributes to various contemporary and modern artists and playing an assortment of musical genres: from classical to standards, jazz, pop and  OPM, to alternative, rock and even heavy metal music.


The concert will also feature the work of Eric Watson, a British composer, pianist and musical director at London's West End. He has worked as a musical director for shows such as Annie, Grease, West Side Story and a musical version of The Hobbit. We are privileged that his concerto for harp and ensemble,  Winged Messengers, will be played for the very first time not only on our shores but globally as well - a true world premiere.  


A harp exhibit featuring instruments made by Camac Harps France will be held simultaneously with the concert at the lobby of the Francisco Santiago Hall. Audiences and guests will be able to see and touch the harp in person, as well as get to know more about the instrument and the care and love it takes to make every single harp.

Close-up of Camac's Atlantide Prestige pedal harp


Tickets are available in denominations of 1000(Gold), 800(Premium), and 500(Balcony) and can be purchased at ticket2me.net or over-the-counter at HillcrestCafé. The concert will be held at the beautiful Francisco Santiago Hall, BDO South Tower, Makati Avenue cor. H.V. Dela Costa street, Makati City.  


HarpRoom, the event organizer, is focused on raising up the next generation of harpists in the Philippines by teaching the skills and nurturing the passion for the instrument, holding events that spread appreciation, knowledge, and love for harp music, as well as making the harp more accessible to everyone. As the official distributor of Camac Harps in the Philippines, the goal is to make the harp less rare in the country, but through the hands of the next generation of Filipino harpists, more precious than ever before.

HarpRoom students crossing the road. Inspired by the The Beatles' Abbey Road photo. ;-)

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