Musical Celebration – 10th April 2022

Sharon Matheson – Harpist

Here we interview Sharon Matheson, our soloist for the upcoming Harp Concerto

1) What made you choose to play the harp and when did you start playing?

I first saw a small lever harp played at school when I was in Year 10.  It was intriguing to see a unique instrument that had such a beautiful sound.  In Year 11, my parents bought a lever harp for me, but, it wasn’t until Year 12 that I was able to take harp lessons and they were with Una Morgan at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music.

2) How have you spent your time in the last 2 years of COVID with almost no performances?

The last two years have certainly been interesting with performances being few and far between. My first “performance” was for the 2020 Anzac Day Dawn Service where, in the presence of our neighbours on their driveways, I played my lever harp on our driveway, with the Service plugged into an ear so that I could play in time with “The Last Post” and “Reveille”.  There have been some opportunities to perform, such as at the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers and when my Angelique Duo, flute and harp, played to a small audience as the pre-concert entertainment, at Toowoomba’s Empire Theatre, for the first, post-Covid live stream of a Queensland Symphony Orchestra concert. There was this concerto to practise for and I was recently the co-presenter of a Celtic harp event for the Harp Society of Queensland. Also, I am a member of a handbell ringing group, Toowoombells, which has been rehearsing weekly, except for when there was a lock down.

3) How long have you been playing with NRSO and can you tell us about a memorable concert?

I joined NRSO in 2007 when Barry Singh was conducting NRSO concerts at the Gold Coast Arts Centre.  All of NRSO’s concerts are memorable for one reason or another, but, it is those concerts of Barry’s that are most memorable for me as they were what I would call “lights, colour, action” performances across a wide variety of musical genres.

4) What should the audience listen out for in your upcoming Concerto?

As with all concertos, the cadenza (where the soloist plays by themselves for a period of time) is a feature.  It is at the end of the second movement for this concerto.  The audience may also see me playing, sometimes, down near the soundboard, so that I reduce the amount of resonance that my modern concert harp emits as this Baroque concerto would have been played on a much lighter, smaller sounding harp.