Claire has had a very busy summer performing solo at many venues throughout the UK. Guildford International Music Festival, Beauminster Festival, Buxton Festival, Henley Festival and Llandeilo Festival to name a few!
An exciting time for Claire was this July, when she and Sir James Galway
released an EP on iTunes called “Live at Classic FM”. The EP included six well
known solo and duet tracks. To purchase a copy of the EP, please click here.
Claire performed alongside Evelyn Glennie and Noah Stewart at Llangollen
International Eisteddfod on Wednesday 10th July. The performance included many
pieces from her various albums, including Girl with the Golden Harp for Classic
FM, and her Concerto album. The gala concert was televised on S4C!
On 24th May, Friday Night is Music Night started the summer with a garden themed
show presented by Vanessa Feltz. Claire took to the stage with the British
Concert Orchestra performing arrangements by her husband, Chris Marshall, which
included To a Wild Rose.
Claire was delighted to be invited to perform a solo recital at the end of April at the Chequers for the COE George Osbourne and G7 finance ministers from the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Canada and Japan. It was an exciting evening for Claire and enjoyed by all in attendance.
On Sunday 21st April, Claire conducted a master class for students of all ages
at Calvary Church for the American Harp Society.
The next day Claire
performed a solo recital kindly supported by the Allegheny Historic Preservation
Society, and the Pittsburg Welsh Society. The concert was broadcast on WQED-FM
and also in Johnstown, PA.
Claire travelled to the Spencerville Adventist Academy where she performed a
solo concert which was the start of the Washington DC Harp Chapter. On Friday
26th April, the day started with a master class and concluded with a sell-out
concert at Trinity Episcopal Church. We are pleased to report that this was the
first of three sell out concerts, which all received standing ovations! Claire
and her management are very grateful to all the organisers for their hard work,
and the warm welcome.
Classic FM brought their Classic FM Live concert to Wales for the very first time. This evening at Wales Millennium Centre, the line up of Claire Jones, Tenor Wynne Evans and pianist HJ Lim, accompanied by the Orchestra of Welsh National Opera, performed to a packed out auditorium.
As a wedding gift to Claire, who is an ambassador for international jewellery brand Clogau, the company based in Wales made bespoke wedding rings for Claire and Chris.
"I'm overwhelmed by Clogau's generosity and by the beauty and craftsmanship of the rings. They are just perfect. We will treasure them always." Said Claire.
Today, Claire Jones and her fiancé, musician and composer Chris Marshall tied the knot. The beautiful wedding service at Blaenffos Chapel near Claire's childhood home in Crymych was attended by friends, family and some famous friends from the world of music and fashion, including Connie Fisher and David Emanuel who designed Claire's stunning wedding gown.
With music in their blood, Jones and Marshall, who met at the Royal Academy of Music, had been carefully selecting the entertainment for their big day and it was certainly a musical event, featuring a 50 strong local choir, solo violinist, numerous harpists a brass quintet, and three bands during the evening.
Chris Marshall wrote the beautiful theme 'Heartstrings' as a gift for Claire on their engagement in Rio. It has become one of the most popular downloads from Claire's album on the Classic FM Label 'Girl with the Golden Harp'.
Harpist Claire Jones is preparing for the busiest week of her life – she’s releasing an album and getting married. She takes time out of her last-minute plans to chat to Karen Price
WHEN most women get engaged, they are more than happy to receive a diamond ring.
But harpist Claire Jones was presented with something a little more unique after a romantic proposal in Rio de Janeiro.
For her musician boyfriend, Chris Marshall, composed a piece of music especially for her called Heartstrings. It now features on her new album, The Girl With The Golden Harp, which is released by Classic FM on Monday – just five days before the couple marry in West Wales.
“After the proposal we were driving around Rio when Chris told me he had another gift for me,” says the former royal harpist. “He told me he had already composed a piece that he wanted to mark that day (the proposal).
“The first time I heard it was when we returned to the UK as it was programmed into his computer. I loved it – it has a strong love theme in the middle and the bits on the outer edges are just magical.
“And the first time I heard it being played live was during the recording for the album. That was a big day. It’s the best present I’ve ever had. It will last forever.”
The album was recorded at a church in Kilburn, north London, in May with the English Chamber Orchestra.
The tracks include opera favourites like O Mio Babbino Caro and Flower Duet as well as a selection of Welsh favourites like Ar Hyd y Nos.
It’s Jones’ hope that the album takes the harp to a new generation of listeners.
“It’s been my long held dream to release an album that brings the harp to a broader audience,” says the 27-year- old, who grew up in Crymych, Pembrokeshire, and spent four years as official harpist to the Prince of Wales.
“This is an album to relax with at the end of a busy day. The repertoire is very accessible and shows the harp in a different light. We’ve picked famous numbers from the opera world which people would instantly recognise and I obviously wanted some Welsh stuff on there as well.
“With the Puccini number (O Mio Babbino Caro) the harp grows as you move into variations of tone. It really makes the harp sing. I’m playing acrobatics with the harp really.”
As well as working on the album, Jones has been planning her wedding, which takes place on September 8 at Blaenffos Chapel, near Crymych, followed by a reception at the Cliff Hotel in Gwbert.
“It’s been challenging having two major things to plan at the same time but it’s been double the excitement,” she says. “We’re just keeping our fingers crossed for good weather for the wedding now.”
The rings are being made by Clogau Gold and the couple helped design them. The bride’s dress was designed by David Emanuel.
“He has got it down to a T,” she says. “He knows me so well – he knows the elegance I want and the style I’m after.”
With music in their blood, Jones and Marshall, who met at the Royal Academy of Music, have been carefully selecting the entertainment for their big day and it will feature a brass quintet, a 50-piece choir and three bands during the evening. There will also be harpists performing, although the bride admits she won’t be picking up the instrument herself.
“I think I’m going to have a day off that day,” she laughs.
Although they haven’t booked a honeymoon, the new Mr and Mrs Marshall are going to spend a few days in Wales after their nuptials before returning to their home in West Drayton and their hectic work schedules.
Since performing at the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge last year – one of her final duties as the Prince of Wales’ harpist – Jones’ profile has risen, particularly internationally.
“People overseas are just besotted by the fact that you played at such a big event,” she says. “I’ll always be grateful to the Prince of Wales for providing me with such a great platform. Our first wedding gift to arrive was from him and the Duchess of Cornwall and they also sent us a lovely letter wishing us all the best.”
Among her forthcoming international appointments are two concerts in Hong Kong in October and recitals in both America and China next spring.
“International work is what I wanted to aim for and it’s now coming true.”
And with her new album and a wedding just days away, it seems that everything is coming together for the harpist.
REPRODUCED BY KIND PERMISSION OF THE WESTERN MAIL