Anne Denholm is one of Britain’s leading young harpists, and is Official Harpist to HRH The Prince of Wales. At the core of Anne’s work is a vision of engaging and dynamic musical performance, and she is earning a reputation for her interpretations and powerful performances across a variety of musical fields.
Originally from South West Wales and of Scottish heritage, Anne recently received her Master’s from the Royal Academy of Music (RAM) in London with distinction, graduating with the Renata Scheffel-Stein Harp Prize, the Sir Reginald Thatcher prize and a Regency Award for notable achievement. Whilst at the RAM, she was the first harpist to win the historic RAM Club Prize, twice winner of the Skaila Kanga Harp Prize, and holder of a Headley Trust Award and the John Thomas Scholarship. In July 2015 she was appointed Official Harpist to HRH The Prince of Wales, the fifth artist to hold this position since its reinstatement in 2000.
Anne underwent a British musical upbringing, studying at the Junior Department of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, the Purcell School and Cambridge University before the RAM. However, she has inherited rich traditions from the French and Russian schools of harp playing through her studies with Charlotte Seale and Karen Vaughan, respectively.
As a soloist, Anne has won numerous prizes in local, national and international music festivals and competitions. She won second place in the Texaco Young Musician of Wales 2009 and was a string category finalist in the BBC Young Musician 2010. At the Wales International Harp Festival, she was awarded second prize in the under 19 category in 2010, and second prize in the Chief Musician Competition in 2014. In June 2013, Anne received the Cambridge University Donald Wort Prize for excellence in music performance after achieving the highest final recital mark, and in 2014 won first prize in the Urdd National Eisteddfod 19-25 solo instrumental category, then being selected to compete for the Bryn Terfel Urdd Scholarship 2014. She has performed as a soloist at the Wigmore Hall and Buckingham Palace, in addition to giving solo recitals across Wales, including at the Fishguard International Music Festival and the inaugural Cardiff Music Festival. She gives regular solo and chamber recitals across Cambridge, Greater London and Wales and was a finalist in the 2012 CUMS Concerto Competition, resulting in a performance of Glière’s Concerto for Harp with the CUMS Concert Orchestra. Other concerto appearances have included Mozart’s Concerto for Flute and Harp with Sally Landymore and the City of Cambridge Symphony Orchestra, and Pierné’s Concerstück with the Cardiff Philharmonic Orchestra.
Anne is increasingly in demand as an interpreter and performer of new music. She has been premiering and recording new works for solo harp since 2006, including works by Jack Westmore, Ed Scolding and Aleksandr Brusentsev, and in 2012 worked with Sally Beamish on a video project of her work for solo harp, Awuya. Anne is a founding member of contemporary quartet, The Hermes Experiment, who regularly commission new works and arrangements for their idiosyncratic combination of instruments (clarinet, soprano voice, harp and double bass), as well as performing live free improvisation. The ensemble are Park Lane Group Young Artists for 2015-16, UK Young Artists 2014 and winners of Nonclassical’s Battle of the Bands. Anne has also hugely enjoyed working and performing with the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group over the last few months. Since 2012, Anne has been a tutor on the annual Sound and Music summer school for young composers where she supports young artists in developing and realising their musical ideas, as well as endeavouring to make the harp more accessible to the next generation of composers.
As well as contemporary classical music, Anne has a passion for world music. In Autumn 2014, the Kuljit Bhamra Ensemble was launched, comprising Kuljit Bhamra MBE (tabla), Shahid the singer (Indian voice), Jordan Black (clarinet), Joe Richards (marimba) and Anne on harp. The ensemble create their own repertoire that explores the boundaries and bridges between Indian classical and Western classical musics.
Anne is also a committed orchestral musician, performing regularly with a variety of orchestras and choirs. Since her formative early experiences as Principal Harp with the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, Anne continues to enjoy and invest in her work in this area. Most recently she has performed with Sir John Eliot Gardiner’s Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, and is the harpist for the 2015-16 London Philharmonic Orchestra Foyle Future Firsts scheme. Opera is another area of interest, with productions in Cambridge and London, including with the New London Opera Players and Tête à Tête Opera. Anne also hugely enjoys performing with choirs, including with the Ely Cathedral Girls’ Choir and Voce Chamber Choir.
In addition to performing, Anne is passionate about using music in community and education contexts. She has been practising in this field since 2008, when she first started training with the Purcell School’s award-winning IMPULSE music education group. With them she toured schools in Cornwall and Norfolk, as well as co-directing a tour to South Wales. Since then, she has worked with the Cambridge Music Education and Outreach group and the Open Academy (RAM), including projects with the Royal London Hospital, the English Chamber Orchestra, and the London Music Masters Bridge Project.
Anne is most grateful for the generous support she has received throughout her musical development to date. Particular thanks go to the Headley Trust, Help Musicians UK, the Arts Council of Wales, the Countess of Munster Musical Trust, the Ryan Davies Memorial Fund, the Martin Musical Scholarship Fund, the Craxton Memorial Trust, and the James Pantyfedwen Foundation.