Celia Harper - Composer


celia with bowl

Celia with singing bowls
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What people have said about Celia's music

'I felt we must write to say how much we appreciated and loved what you had written for us. From every point of view the Mass was magic - music in the heart of the English tradition, imaginative, melodic and totally approachable; the origins of your inspiration in the first place and its complete relevance. And the execution by all your singers made it a most moving evening. Thank you and congratulations too from us both!' (after Mass for Childermas Day - Jan 2010)

'Then there's the new. I recommend...Celia Harper's beautiful and evocative songs for mezzo-soprano and violin'.
(David Juritz (leader of the London Mozart Players) writing in the Festival brochure for Burton Bradstock Festival 2009).

'It gave us great joy to hear your beautiful setting of the Aaronic Blessing last night. Thank you so much for giving the text such thoughtful, serene and moving musical treatment. With a thousand thanks again for your wonderful music - as usual the highlight last night.'
(Letter received (from the commissioner) after the premiere of The Aaronic Blessing in 2009)

'As for today's concert - well, the silence at the end of the Vision, followed by applause of such intensity says it all! London stood still from the beginning of the performance to the end. I came out...feeling an extraordinary mixture of elation and tranquillity. Much thanks for Celia as creator-performer and to the others for such an amazing quarter of an hour!'
(Email received after the Vision of Enoch at a concert at St Martin in the Fields in 2008)

'a beautifully understated quality....a time-stopping spiritual experience for me'
(Letter received after concert at Rotherfield)

We sat and listened
And your resonance became ours.
In the stillness tears flowed
And light shone in that space
Around singers and listeners and hung in the air between.
When the stillness of the music ceased
We clapped and some stomped their feet
But I wanted really to say
I salute the divine energy within you that with your skills you enabled us all to share.
(Poem received from Trisha Waters after the Brighton Healing Sounds Festival concert)

'I was one of the audience/congregation at your stunning performance last night and just want to say THANK YOU SO MUCH to you all for giving us such a wonderful evening [...] Why has the world not heard of your compositions before? Usually when it is announced that it is a "world premier" my heart drops and polite applause ripples at the end but "O intemerata et in aeternum...." was exquisite.'

'I quite naturally found myself slipping into a kind of mesmerized state. Almost like how I imagine being hypnotised. Not something I have EVER experienced before [...] I was really needing some kind of succour, and there's no doubt that your music gave me that in the purest, most direct way possible.'

"The only words for the experience are words like "divine", "sublime".
Celia, Sulis, and all that you are, I salute you
love in the stillness of One"
(Comments received after concert at Douai Abbey)

Among a rash of recent recordings of male altos, the most effective is Chameleon. Few contemporary composers have been attracted to writing for the counter-tenor, but here some reflective Marian Latin texts have been set to attractive music by Celia Harper...a genuinely serene experience...other-worldly.
(Classic FM magazine)

'The hidden secret in this music is balm to the soul'
(Elaine Walker, therapist)

'I felt the music was really evocative of heaven, very moving and beautifully played'
(Bereaved carer, Arthur Rank Hospice, Cambridge)

'I felt a warm glow as if I were sunbathing , and I wanted to turn my face to the source of the sound'
(Visitor, Bristol Cancer Help Centre)

'I would like to do all I can to make your music more well-known'
(Dr. Leslie Bunt, Director of the MusicSpace Trust, Bristol)

'The CD has been a great blessing to me and is just what I needed'

'I wanted to tell you what an absolute joy the CD has been. We played it in a healing service...it was very moving and everyone thought it was wonderful'
(Bereaved relative on a visit to Lourdes)

'I wanted to thank you for the most wonderful experience last Saturday. I felt as if I were sitting on the windowsill of heaven and looking in - it was almost too beautiful'

'Your music was stunning'

'Your music is certainly unconventional as far as the concert-goer is concerned...it is most affecting and spacious. Simple sounding it may be, but the control of extended shapes is very skilful. Also a disarming lack of ego...I left in a different and better state of mind and I thank you for it.'

'I've bought the CD and shall never forget that concert'

'We so enjoyed your wonderful concert - thank you'

'Musically inspired and tuneful...'

'Every time I play the Chameleon CD I hear something new and wonder at your ability to create something so beautiful.'

'The CD is lovely music...I was thrilled by the beauty of the first track'

'While we struggled between grief and our memories I can't tell you how much the CD helped - both the pieces themselves and the splendid, fabulous performances that you all made of them. Your sounds made things appear well and calm again.'

'..such gorgeous music and so appropriately comforting at a time like this'

'Words fail me in expressing my thanks to you all for giving such a wonderful concert'

'I just wanted to record my sincere thanks to you for that wonderful concert...I found both the music and the performance of it inspirational, and I know I was not alone...it was an evening to remember.'

'...a wonderful evening...the highlight of our fund-raising effort'

'I shall remember this evening for the rest of my life'

'The CD is really beautiful. I love sitting and listening to it on my own and my favourite track varies from day to day...I'd like to know when the next CD is due!'

'I liked the CD enormously and found it extremely relaxing during this hectic period'

'Thank you, thank you, thank you for the CD! It's absolutely beautiful'
(from Australia)

'We found the music "out of this world", and strongly put in a plea for a repeat concert - even with the same programme'

'I have recently been utterly charmed and captured by the sublime and spiritual music on this CD'
(email from the Netherlands)

'I have just played your wonderful CD - it reduced me to tears'

'I felt very privileged to be at your concert...I thought the way you presented the items was very effective and particularly enjoyed the lullabies sung at the end of our row'

'Your concert was a sublime experience and a highlight of the festival. Thank you all so very much, it will live with me for a long time....what you are doing needs to be experienced by as many people as possible.'
(Festival Director)

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© Celia Harper 2009. All rights reserved.