Clarsach Competition

The Clarsach is the ancient word for the small (non-pedal) harp, the oldest of Scotland's traditional instruments.  This gentle instrument was once so prized by royalty that harpers were kept on staff to play for social occasions such as poetry readings, as well as affairs of state, such as a coronation.  Regrettably, as the ranks of the nobility declined, harpers became itinerant musicians, going from town to town paying whenever they could find an audience. later, British rulers would try to band the harp, leading it to the edge of extinction.  But then, at the turn of the 20th century, beginning in Scotland, Ireland, and North America, there was renewed interest in the Clarsach.  By the 1970s, interest in the history, music, musicians, and technique of the Clarsach brought multiple aspects of the ancient instrument to the forefront, where we celebrate it today.  Now the Clarsach is not limited to royalty or angles, it is enjoyed in concerts, afternoon teas, weddings, and it has proven to provide healing therapy.

We are proud to be a part of the is history and proud to support a new generation of harpers.

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Registration at 9:00 
Competition at 10:00 
Free harp workshop at 12:30


Competition Information

The harp competition at the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games is sanctioned by the Scottish Harp Society of America (SHSA).  The Society is a non-profit educational organization dedicated to the Scottish harp, the clarsach, and its music both ancient and modern. Sanctioning ensures the competition will have trained, experienced judges using an exclusive approach focused on building community around the Scottish harp tradition. 
Rules and guidelines for the competition may be obtained through the SHSA website. Specifically, competitors should be prepared to play only Scottish selections according to the level at which they are competing. In addition, competitors should prepare a repertoire list of tunes they play, and this becomes part of the registration. 
If there are questions or a need for further clarification, contact Dr. Martha Geouge Hill at [email protected]

About the Judge


Kelly Brzozowski

Kelly Brzozowski is a masterful and diverse harpist with classical training and a folk background. She holds multiple music degrees and is a U.S. National Scottish Harp Champion. Kelly has performed and taught throughout Europe and the United States and maintains a large teaching studio in her hometown of Atlanta, Georgia. Her current projects include The Reel Sisters (Scottish, Irish, and Appalachian music), Amethyst Baroque Ensemble, and a new folk ensemble yet to be named!



GMHG Corporate Sponsors

scottish heritage USA
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