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The French Harp

Hans Cerdenia

Author's note: The following is a statement released by HarpRoom regarding the Novel Coronavirus(COVID-19) outbreak and how it has affected the event, The French Harp. The succeeding article has been edited to reflect changes to the event details.

Of all the musical instruments made by man, the harp stands out as magnificent and other-worldly. Rare and precious, individuals who know how to make music with its strings are just as rare as the instrument itself. But there is one even rarer: a Harp maker. And rarer still, one who has mastered it to perfection.

Such a master is coming to the Philippines for the first time. Jakez François has made the harp his passion and his mission in life. Designing some of the best harps in the world, he has worked with French harp brand, Camac Harps, since 1988 and has helmed the company as its CEO for the past twenty years. Known for high quality and wonderful innovations, Camac Harps is sought after worldwide for the amazing, rich, and clear sounds their harps produce.

Hailing from a family of Breton musicians and introduced to the harp by the famous harpist Alan Stivell, Jakez has composed music, competed, and played with the harp most of his life. Mentored by harp masters of high esteem such as Catherine de Preissac, Marileine Bouchaud, Isabelle Perrin and Annie Fontaine, he has honed his craft excellently by thoughtfully harmonizing techniques from various schools of thought. He has been awarded multiple times for his specialization in the Celtic harp, and has authored multiple original compositions for the instrument. Together with the World Harp Trophy for the Celtic harp and the first prize awards in festivals at Dinan and Kan Ar Bobl, he has also been given the Commande d’État for a composition for solo harp.

The Valentine's event is a partnership between HarpRoom, the first harp school in the country, and Alliance Française de Manille - the premiere French language and cultural institution. Aptly titled, The French Harp, the event will feature not only his skills as a harpist but his knowledge in harp making as well. He will be playing jazz harp pieces and will be explaining the art, science, and engineering behind the some of the greatest harps in the world. Complementing his lecture-performance is Philippine harpist JoAnn Cerdenia, a home-grown harpist first taught by Lourdes de Leon-Gregorio and subsequently mentored by harp masters in Germany. They will also be joined by HarpRoom's students, members of the next generation of Philippine harpists. The event will be held at Alliance Française de Manille, 209 Nicanor Garcia St., Makati City, with the date to be announced soon.

Jakez François' visit to the Philippines is a great milestone for the harp community in the country and of local music. His visit to our shores will greatly add to the growing knowledge and appreciation of the harp.
What a wonderful and memorable night it will be.

For ticket reservations, contact HarpRoom at +63977.750.6976 or email at makemusic@harproom.com.

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