Oxon Hoath Harp Course

Sunday May 29th – Tuesday May 31st 2016

The Course

All ages and standards welcome, other than complete beginners. The course is intended to stimulate interest and enthusiasm for the non-pedal harp in a relaxed and informal atmosphere.

This year’s course runs from Sunday May 29th to Tuesday May 31st.  Arrival will be from 5pm on the Sunday, and the course ends at 4pm on the Tuesday.

Course attendees will be divided into three groups, according to playing experience, and each group will have three teaching sessions, one with each of the three tutors.  A detailed timetable will be available at the start of the course.  Where appropriate/applicable music will be sent in advance.


The venue for the course is Oxon Hoath, near Tonbridge, Kent.  Oxon Hoath was built as a stately home in 1372, and opened in 1999 as a retreat and conference centre. It is set in secluded countryside, in 73 acres of peaceful and private grounds. Oxon Hoath is about 12 miles from junction 5 of the M25.  The nearest railway station is at Tonbridge, about 5 miles away.

1There is a mixture of accommodation over three floors.  As far as possible rooms will be allocated according to preferences specified on the booking form.  Most attendees will be able to have a single room or single occupancy of a twin room, but if you are willing to share a twin room (most of which are large and have ensuite facilities), please say so on the booking form.

Please also note that there is no lift in the house.  Two of the teaching rooms are on the ground floor, and one on the first floor.

Vegetarian and other diets can be catered for.


This year we are pleased to welcome Robin Huw Bowen, Bill Taylor, and Robin Ward as our tutors.

Bill Taylor researches, performs, teaches and records the ancient harp music of Ireland, Scotland and Wales. He is one of very few players interpreting these repertoires using gut-strung medieval harps, renaissance harps with buzzing bray pins and wire-strung clarsachs.

Bill is a teacher-in-residence with Ardival Harps, Strathpeffer, in the Highlands of Scotland.  For many years he has taught at the Edinburgh International Harp Festival in the UK and the Amherst Early Music Festival in the US, and he is often invited to lead workshops and to perform in Britain, Europe and the United States. His teaching covers a wide range of subjects: arranging for small harps, using fingernail technique to play wire-strung harps and bray harps, and exploring music from medieval, renaissance and traditional sources.

Since 1983, Robin Huw Bowen has introduced the Welsh Triple Harp and its music to thousands all over the world. As the only full-time professional Welsh harpist specializing solely in the Welsh Triple Harp, his influence on the world of Welsh folk music and harping has been far-reaching.

Robin Huw Bowen is a popular tutor at the Edinburgh International Harp Festival, and Clarsach Society workshops. In 2016, as part of the Telynor Cymru 2016 project, which celebrates the two-hundredth anniversary of the birth of John Roberts, the famous gypsy harpist, Robin will be leading a series of workshops to teach harpists all over Wales to play in the style of the gypsy tradition, a style passed down to us directly from John Roberts himself through several generations of his family.

Originally from New Zealand, Robin Ward is currently based in the UK.  He is a unique musician, in that he both builds and plays his own instruments. He is principally an exponent of the triple strung harp, and is continually pushing the boundaries of what can be played on the instrument, with many of the pieces he plays his own transcriptions. His repertoire encompasses music from Folk Traditions, the Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, and Romantic Periods.  Robin is also an experienced teacher, and caters for students from the complete beginner to the more advanced player, on lever, pedal and historic Harps. He currently leads regular workshops for the London & South-East branch of the Clarsach Society.

At Oxon Hoath, Robin Ward will be giving students a taster of the music that can be found in the works of Edward Bunting (Ireland) and the Balcarres MS (Scottish Lute). At the elementary level students will be given the opportunity to learn a few simple arrangements.  Intermediate level students will similarly look at more developed arrangements and ornamentation. Advanced students will be given the opportunity to apply ornamentation, and to develop their own arrangements from the skeletal versions in the Balcarres MS (LH accompaniment) and from Bunting, to develop their own harmonisations.


A booking form can be downloaded here.

More Information

Please contact us if you have any questions about the course, or want to know about the possibility of hiring a harp for the course.