Meet & Retreat with ‘Harpist to the Queen’

12th February 2018


This is a brilliant monthly platform and class organized by the creative harpist Keziah Thomas in South London. A very warm and eager audience turned up on February 12, and I presented the following:


A tantalizing glimpse at the amazing life of an extraordinary Victorian musician. Appointed official harpist to Queen Victoria, John Thomas rose from humble beginnings to become a world-renowned performer, composer and teacher.

First half: A lecture on John Thomas’ life, based on extensive research, combined with performances of a selection of original and rarely-performed solo harp music. 

Second half: ‘Capturing the essence of Thomas’; a class on Thomas’ music in context, with details of how to capture important elements, and how to work on technical aspects in his works for solo harp. 

The enthusiastic audience were avid listeners, note-takers and full of curiosity, and I thoroughly enjoyed sharing my passion with them all.

John Thomas – a composer and harpist whose work deserves far better recognition.

Kind words from the day…

As you could see from the giant grins on all our faces, we spent a joyful evening in the company of Sioned Williams last night! Sioned treated us to a fascinating lecture recital on the life and music of Victorian Welsh harpist John Thomas. With her beautiful playing of a selection of his compositions, we discovered that he was so much more than just ‘Watching the Wheat’ and Sioned highlighted the depth of emotion in his music with elegant subtlety. After our tea break we looked at some of the technical work involved in Thomas’ music, scribbling down all the practical tips we were offered! Sioned’s passion for the composer left us all incredibly inspired to learn and discover more about our wonderful instrument. Thank you Sioned!

Keziah Thomas – Meet and Retreat February 2018

Sioned –I loved it! The pieces were gorgeous, so perfectly played within the style, and the musicality was so sensitive. I don’t think anyone else could play John Thomas so beautifully. Also you pitched it just right because it was interesting to people who have a knowledge of the harp, and also to those just learning, and the choice of pieces you played to break up the talk was also really good, playing the study and lesser known pieces.

Louisa Duggan – Meet and Retreat February 2018