Helen loves to take her harp out of the orchestra and on the road where she can share the music and stories related to this magical musical instrument.
"On her latest AOTNZ tour she’ll be showcasing the Celtic music of Wales, Ireland and Scotland, along with some glorious Baroque music by J.S. Bach, and then on to Paris and La Belle Epoche with the music of Claude Debussy and Gabriel Faure.
The first half of programme is a mini history of the pedal harp, with pieces chosen to show the development of the double action pedal harp, invented by Frenchman Sebastien Erard.
The second half showcases the Blue Carbonfibre Celtic harp, with music from Brittany, Scotland and Ireland. As well, the Concert harp is plugged in for some jazz surprises – ‘Duke’, inspired by Duke Ellington, and Mozart’s ‘Alla Turca Jazz’.
Helen is also looking forward to playing music written for her solo CD ‘Pluck’ by New Zealand film composer Mark Smythe, nominated for Best Classical CD in the 2013 Music awards, and made into a DVD film ‘Harps Make Fine Companions’, screened by Television New Zealand.
Her programme includes a couple of surprises –a recently discovered harp composition by the father of NZ classical music, Douglas Lilburn, and ‘Blue Smoke’ by Ruru Karaitiana, the first piece of recorded New Zealand music.
Helen plays the Concert Grand, made out of South Island red beech by her brother, well known harp maker Kim Webby, and the Blue carbon fibre Celtic harp, made by luthier Davy Stuart.
Born in Whangarei, Helen’s passion for the harp began at the age of 12 when her older brother Kim built her an instrument. She studied Concert Harp in Auckland, Holland and Germany and in 1996 completed her master’s degree from the Hochschule for Music in Hamburg. Since 2000, Helen has been Principal Harp with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra and also plays with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra as well as other orchestras. She premiered New Zealand works at the 2006 American Harp Society Convention and also tours with Chamber Music New Zealand."