As of September 2023, harp has become a first-study instrument at The Yehudi Menuhin School.
Harp has played an important role at the school in recent years as a second-study instrument and is one which we feel will integrate easily into the YMS programme. It has featured regularly in our chamber and orchestral programmes and the development of harp as a first-study will enable the school to explore a new range of orchestral and chamber repertoire, thus improving and diversifying the educational experience for all pupils.
First study harpists receive two individual lessons each week as well as taking part in a group class. They have many opportunities to perform in both chamber and orchestral settings and give regular solo performances.
The course is carefully tailored to each individual student and fosters structured technical development, instilling good habits for a lifetime of harp playing with creative freedom and ease. Students learn a full range of solo repertoire, they explore the wealth of chamber music which exists for strings and harp and are coached on orchestral repertoire.
Weekly group classes focus on technique and rhythm work, harp ensemble playing and performance skills. Inspired by the school’s founder, harpists are encouraged to collaborate with their peers by taking part in arranging projects, improvisation workshops and exploring and sharing music from different cultures.
Keziah Thomas - Professor of Harp
Acclaimed by the New York Concert Review as ‘Stupendous…totally original and engaging’, at her Carnegie Hall debut recital, British harpist Keziah Thomas enjoys a reputation of a lively and engaging performer and educator. At the heart of her work is the belief that the power of music is for everyone, a value which drives a diverse freelance career.
Keziah’s creative programming strives to expand the repertoire and platform for the harp, and she is as equally comfortable performing at major venues and festivals throughout the world such as touring Japan for Aoyama Harps and giving recitals for Astral Artists in the USA as producing educational concerts for babies and playing in healthcare settings as a Breathe AHR resident musician.
In recent years, Keziah has developed a particular interest in arranging which had led to the creation of the first solo transcription of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, the album of which was released on Convivium Records in 2022 to critical acclaim.
Her previous album Crossing Waves included newly commissioned works by British composers, James Young, Huw Watkins, and Andy Scott and was hailed as an 'imaginatively programmed, winningly played recital' by the BBC Music Magazine.
Keziah is principal harp with the Covent Garden Sinfonia and her work as a chamber musician with the Aoyama Trio and 4 Girls 4 Harps has been described as having ‘Scrupulous attention to the harp’s dynamic and rhythmic possibilities’ by The Times.
The winner of the London Harp Competition, the Camac Harp Competition and the Contemporary Record Society Performing Artists Competition, Keziah Thomas was taught by Danielle Perrett, Daphne Boden and Alison Nicholls and holds an ARCM diploma, a bachelor’s degree from the Royal College of Music and a PG Cert in Performance Teaching from the Guildhall School.
Keziah is a creative educator and entrepreneur and is the founder of two popular harp programmes; Retreat to the Harp, a series of workshops and study weekends that bring together those who share her love of the harp and Little Harp Social, the group learning programme for adults. Keziah joined The Yehudi Menuhin School in 2023 and is also a Professor of harp at the Guildhall School.