A Call for Artists
Across the whole world, we are scouting out the very best and most promising emerging artists on the harp. Are you a passionate and talented musician with something you’re dying to say through your instrument? We want to hear from you! This competition is open to all harpists of all ages and nationalities. Whether you play classical pedal harp, folk harp, or have your own improvisatory style of electric jazz, you’re invited to join in. We’re presenting you the challenge (and the opportunity) to design and pitch your own original program. If your idea stands out from the rest and captures the hearts of the jury, then you will be invited to perform at the Dutch Harp Festival, all expenses paid, and have the chance at the grand prize of €5,000 and our specially tailored Care, Coaching, Career (CCC) development program. Read on to find out how to apply and what to expect.
1 Sept 2023 | Open for applications
1 Oct 2023 | Application deadline
22 Oct 2023 | Preselection results announced, open for video submissions
15 Dec 2023 | Deadline for video submissions
1 Jan 2024 | Candidates & Scouting Jury announced, video judging begins
15 Jan 2024 | Invitations sent to finalists
25 Jan 2024 | Semifinalists announced
18-19 Apr 2024 | Semifinals in Utrecht, NL
20 Apr 2024 | Finals & Announcement of prize winners
2024-2025 season | CCC Program for first prize winner
Applications are due by 1 October 2023 (23:59 central European time). In order to complete your application, you’ll need to 1) fill out and submit the application form, and 2) pay the registration fee.
To complete the application form, here is a list of information and materials you will need to prepare.
- Your name and contact info
- A list of any teachers you’ve studied with in the past year
- A short bio (max 700 characters)
- Two publicity photos
- A description of your original program
- An audio recording of a piece of your choice
Publicity photos should be high resolution, suitable for print (minimum 300 dpi) and both in color. These photos will be used in promotional material for the competition and the festival. You will not be judged based on your photos. Furthermore, the preliminary round will be conducted anonymously, and your identity will not be attached to the materials presented to the jury.
A biography gives a brief overview of your harp education and career, in paragraph form. Please do not submit a CV.
Original Program Description
During the preliminary round, the jury will review your program proposal. At this stage of the competition, we ask only that you submit a title for your program, an example of three pieces that you would perform, and a succinct written description of your program (max 700 characters). This gives the jury a quick taste of what you have to offer, before you have fully developed your ideas. See below for a more in-depth discussion of what to consider when designing your original program.
The purpose of the audio recording is to show that you have mastered your instrument and are capable of competing on the international level. Choose a piece that you feel best represents you as a musician, and give it your best performance. You may wish to send a recording of one of the pieces you plan to play as part of your original program, but you’re also welcome to select a different piece.
The recording must be unedited (i.e. no cuts allowed) and made within the past year. Files should be in MP3 format and no more than 20MB. Aside from the file size limit, there is no limit on the length of the piece.
The registration fee of €100 is non-refundable. Visit the payment page after completing your application form. If, however, your financial situation makes it difficult to afford the registration fee, please contact us to discuss scholarship options. It is our mission to make this competition truly inclusive to anyone who wants to take the chance, regardless of financial means.
Starting in 2018, the DHF World Harp Competition made a bold break from tradition. Instead of posting a list of required repertoire, we opened up the playing field to everyone by inviting candidates to construct their own original program. With this new format, we’re also hoping to bring the competition closer to what emerging young artists are encountering in the professional world – a place where your success is not only based on the technical quality of your playing but also on your ideas, your stage presence, your ability to connect with your audience, and your general artistry.
The original program – a live performance of 45 minutes – must feature the candidate playing the harp. Otherwise, the entire design of the program – repertoire, style, theme, staging, instrumentation, etc. – is free for you to create. You are welcome to sing along, improvise, collaborate with other musicians and artists. Get inspired by watching the video we made in 2019, with examples from the 2018 competition.
Based solely on the anonymized program proposals and audio files from the completed applications, the preselection jury will determine which applicants may pass on to the next stage of the competition. (For further explanation of how the judging and voting process works, please refer to the competition Rules & Regulations.) The list of candidates invited to the video round will be announced on October 22nd.
If you are invited to the video round, you will have until Friday, December 15th, 2023, to submit a video preview of your original program. The purpose of this video is to give the scouting jury a clear idea of what to expect if you are invited to the semifinals. This is a digital round, but will be broadcast online and open to the public.
Quality and format
All standard video files will be accepted. Both visual and audio tracks should be of a professional quality. The video should have a minimum resolution of 1920×1080 (HD) with a 16:9 aspect ratio and a preferred resolution of 4K.
Videos should be between 5 and 8 minutes long.
How to upload the video
If you are invited to submit a video, you will receive an email with upload instructions. Please do not publish your video online – doing so may disqualify you from the competition. The Dutch Harp Festival reserves exclusive rights to all video submissions while the competition is in progress. After May 1st, 2024, the original creator of the video is free to use the video as he or she sees fit, and the DHF furthermore reserves the right to use the video recordings for promotional purposes.
How to create a great video
The jury in this round is looking for the most compelling all-around artists for inclusion in the festival program. A great video is one that captures their interest and leaves them wanting to see more. To give a taste of your original program, consider showing a few clips of different pieces you plan to play, include some “behind the scenes” interview-style footage of you (or any collaborators) talking about the ideas behind the program, include footage of places, events, or artwork that are meaningful to the music. Take advantage of the expanded possibilities of a video vs. a live performance – there are no restrictions on editing. The only official requirements are that the video feature you playing the harp and that any talking be in English. Check out last year’s submissions for extra inspiration. Release your creativity!
Semifinals & Finals
Following the results of the video round, up to 14 candidates will be invited to the semifinals. If you’ve made it this far, then you’re part of an elite group in for an exciting adventure! Upon signing your performance agreement, you will on your way to present your full 45-min original program for a live audience in Utrecht, with the support of our venue’s professional team of sound engineers and stage managers. The semifinals on April 18th and 19th are the opening act to the Dutch Harp Festival – a spectacular celebration of the harp, where harpists and music lovers from across Europe and even further abroad will gather for an unforgettable event. With the goal of keeping the competition accessible to all, there is a designated travel fund for competitors in need of financial assistance for these rounds.
Three finalists will then be showcased during the Dutch Harp Festival on Saturday, April 20th. Finalists will each have 15 minutes to play a curated program of their choice. This could be a highlight of your original program or something new – it’s up to you. The finals are your last chance to sweep the jury off their feet. Based on your performances in both the semifinals and the finals, the jury will then assign 1st, 2nd, and 3rd prizes. The audience award will be announced, and the first prize winner will go home with €5,000 and the continuing support of the Care, Coaching, and Career (CCC) development program.
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