This year at the Two Moors Festival, we’re doing a series of concerts at Tiverton Parkway station – A Season Ticket for Bach. One of the performers is harpist Keziah Thomas, who has appeared in major venues around the world and toured Japan for Aoyama Harps. Here’s what she has to say about playing her harp in the waiting room of a railway station.
Two Moors Festival (TMF): How long have you been a harpist?
Keziah Thomas (KT): I’ve been playing the harp for 22 years now but I wanted to start learning at the age of two. Let’s say, in my head, I have been a harpist from birth!
TMF: Have you played in the festival before?
KT: 2012 will be my fourth appearance with my harp quartet 4 Girls 4 Harps but my first solo concert. I’m also performing with my harp quartet on October 20th in our ten-year anniversary concert.
TMF: In all your years as a professional musician, is this the oddest place you’ve given a concert?
KT: A train station is definitely up there with the more unusual venues but I’ve also been asked to perform in a carpark, an unfinished new office complex complete with diggers and men in hardhats and even a few nightclubs.
TMF: What was your first reaction when you were approached about the series?
KT: Very keen! I knew if Penny Adie was asking then it would be a great concert wherever the venue. I think the Ticket to Bach series is a great idea, I love imaginative programming!
TMF: How do you think the commuters will react to being faced with a harp as they wait for their train?
KT: Although it might be a bit of a shock at first, I can’t think of anything more calming than listening to Bach as I waited for the train…they might even be pleased if the train is delayed!
TMF: What other strange requests have you had as a professional harpist?
KT: These are usually to do with costumes. People love asking me to wear silly costumes to fit in with their themes. I’ve been asked to perform in my underwear for a lingerie launch and a Mozartian wig for an 18th-century concert – and angel wings seem to almost be a harpist’s uniform!
TMF: What made you go for the Bach Partita?
KT: These Partitas were not written to be performed on the harp and the majority would need rearranging and editing quite a bit to be suitable for the harp. The first Partita can be played on the harp from the original score with no alterations, which is quite exciting.
TMF: Will you be dressing up for the concert or will you go with the theme and wear comfy travelling clothes?
KT: Dressing up definitely! With my beautiful Salvi concert harp, which is decorated in gold leaf, anything less would look silly!
Keziah’s playing on October 19th at 11:30 in Tiverton Parkway Station.
Free entry by ticket only, with a collection in aid of the festival’s education work and the British Heart Foundation.
Call (01643) 831 006 for further information.
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