Maria Luisa Rayan-Forero, prize winner at Bloomington International Harp Competition, recitalist, lecturer and teacher, gave an inspiring masterclass to a crowd of harpists in London during the summer holiday. The morning participants were young but already experienced students: Elizabeth Bass, (congratulations to her for a superb performance at the Proms as part of the harp section of NYO!) a French student on holiday in London, and also Bou Man Lau, Eloise Oliver and Jay Boender: they played works by Ortiz, Watkins, Dussek, Debussy and Piazzolla/Rayan Forero.


The afternoon, with more advanced students, was filled with more treats: Caroline Hall, Elizabeth McNulty, Aileen Henry, Heather Wrighton, Tamara Young and Rebecca Royce played works by Tournier, Renie, Hasselmans, Andres, Grandjany and Debussy. Maria Luisa was generous giving inspiring ideas to perform and sound advice as to how to practice - she is an expert at that, having gained silver medals in Bloomington at the USA International Harp Competition. She also gave invaluable advice in terms of confidence, preparation, and  self assurance .To all Maria Luisa gave help and encouragements; briefly played herself some excerpts of the works performed on the harp, showing what a wonderful musician and performer she is, as well as a wonderful teacher!


Everyone commented on how she is extremely kind and positive to all while been firm and engaging the audience as well as the students playing. Everyone loved her pragmatic and sound views, her musical insight in the different styles and characters of the music. Her warm personality and kind, experienced and practical approach made everyone involved feel comfortable and I hope that we can meet and hear her playing in recital soon in London.


Maria Luisa has released, Latin Fire a wonderful CD of works by Spanish and South American composers. She has arranged many of the works herself, and they are all published and available to buy, as well as her edition of Bach' s Partitas.To all interested in getting this beautiful CD or the printed arrangements, please call Allie and David to order your copy!


At the end of the Masterclass Maria Luisa's husband Antonio and children Camilla and Antonio came storming in, charming everyone: the two blond angels smiled and were open and friendly to everyone around, and brought sunshine into the room.


Thank you Maria Luisa for sharing with us her time, knowledge and enthusiasm. We will treasure every word and hope that she will also take happy UK harp memories back to the USA, and we hope it will not be long before she is back with us again!


A huge THANK YOU to Holywell for organizing the masterclass in every detail and aspect: they even offered everyone present a scrumptious lunch, as well as tea and biscuits during the morning and afternoon breaks, allowing the many harpists - and parents and friends- to nourish their tummies as well as their souls and thirst for music!


There was plenty of time for all to catch up and browse on the music collection or choose a pedal harp to take home before term starts- Sunday shopping as it is!

Gabriella Dall’ Olio – Head of Harp Studies – Trinity College of Music