Orchestra Audition Training

In an effort to get to know the Dutch Harp community a bit more, I’ve decided to try out for this orchestra audition training course in Amsterdam.


The course is run by Sandrine Chatron, who is the principal harpist for the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra. The idea is that a maximum of eight participants go for four days of intensive workshop sessions this November and then compete in a final audition. The winner earns an invitation to play one program with the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra in the next concert season.

I’m still somewhat undecided as to how practical it is for me to do such a course (even if I win the audition I still pay a €200 tuition fee), but I can say that so far it’s definitely helping me get back in shape after the summer holidays, which is going to have a lot of side benefits. I’m busily brushing up my orchestral excerpts, and I already have a handful of blisters to show for it.

Coming soon:
Ravel – Tzigane Cadenza
Strauss – Salome’s Dance
Stravinsky – Symphony in Three Movements, III
Wagner – Fire Music

An Evening at Home, by Alfred Holy

Always on the search for new pieces to add to my arsenal of student repertoire (because I get bored quickly listening to the same music again and again), I ran into this fun little suite the other day on IMSLP.

An Evening at Home: Four Easy Pieces for the Harp
Alfred Holy, Op. 24

I first discovered Alfred Holy by way of his “Twenty-Four Easy Studies for Harp”, which I have used very successfully as sight-reading assignments for my students. He was apparently a Czech musician who lived from 1866 to 1948.

This is a set of four little images he wrote for one of his students. While it is quite sweet and simple, it’s not entirely a beginner piece. I’d grade it intermediate-beginner, with the additional remark that it’s for the pedal harp. Watch out for cross fingerings, harmonics, enharmonics, voicing, and a few surprise tempo and rhythm changes. The names of the movements may evoke a child’s storybook, but these are rather sophisticated little musical sketches.

I found that a few additional markings in the score were helpful, so I’m including them here. Enjoy!

[PDF – low resolution] An Evening at Home (markings) – Alfred Holy

[PDF – high resolution] An Evening at Home (markings) – Alfred Holy

Welcome to ElizabethJaxon.com

Here it is at last: my website has launched! I’m finally set up with a proper domain name and a site to go with it. So, if you’re reading this, thank you very much for visiting me here.

Though this is my first blog post on the site, I’ve already done quite a bit of blogging elsewhere on the internet. At my previous blog spot, Beyond the Moment, you can still read about my experiences competing in the Israel International Harp Competition in 2009. I have also blogged for the Dutch Harp Festival, for all three of its editions. The latest edition was just this past February, and there is still an online archive of the first edition in 2010.

So then, why a new blog now?

Because this one is going to be something new. I am broadening my scope, expanding my theme. I plan to make this new website my outlet for sharing everything harp related with you, my readers. This blog is for you. In the coming posts, you might find tutorials on a harp topic, music recordings, observations about what’s going on in the harp world, my experience of harp events, or even ideas for the future. I hope that you will discover something useful to you here. But also feel free to reach out and tell me what you would like to read about. I don’t presume to know more or to be better in any way than my readers, only that we might have a common interest and that perhaps you would be interested in (or at least entertained by) hearing my perspective.

Here’s where I’m coming from:

I have 20+ years of experience playing, performing, and teaching harp. I’ve been all around the world with the harp, and I feel very much a part of the international harp community. I’ve just moved to the Netherlands from Thailand, and I’m completely in love with my new country. I’m all set up with my own bike, pedaling through Utrecht to and from Dutch classes and the Albert Heijn. There’s naturally a lot of new things I’ve had to get used to around me, but as I gradually reach a first-hand understanding of how things work here, it only increases my admiration for the Dutch. There is a great respect for quality of life and for the environment in evidence here. I love becoming a part of this society. Nonetheless, I am definitely still in the process of finding my place here.

So, let’s get started with this new online adventure!