Senior Clarsach competition open for entries

The prestigious Scottish Harp competition, the Princess Margaret of the Isles Memorial Prize for Senior Clàrsach (UK), is now open for entries. The competition is open to all players aged 18 and over. The competition recital will take place at Armadale Castle, Isle of Skye, on Saturday 8 June 2019 at 2pm.

The winner will receive a prize of £2000 and each of the 4 finalists will receive a £1000 appearance fee.

How to enter

Candidates should prepare a 20 minute recital. The recital should include:

  • a variety of Scottish styles, traditional and contemporary, including own arrangement of a piece from The Patrick McDonald Collection
  • a new composition (or compositions) by the candidate

Candidates should record their recital and submit in MP3 format. The recording should include a short announcement before each track. A cover email should include a short description of each track in the order of recording. Please thoroughly check your recording before sending it in.

To enter please submit your entry by email, with MP3 file attachments via WeTransfer or Dropbox, to Mary Strachan at maryashaig@gmail.com. Deadline for entries is 8 April 2019.

Four successful candidates will then be selected to perform at Armadale Castle in front of an audience and an independent adjudicator on 8 June 2019.

About the competition

Now in its second year, the Princess Margaret of the Isles Memorial Prize for Senior Clàrsach is organised by Clan Donald Lands Trust (CDLT) as part of its programme of support of the Gaelic performing arts. The prize is named after Princess Margaret of Scotland, the daughter of King Robert II and the wife of John, Lord of the Isles, who was a great patron of the arts. CDLT would like to thank donors and Scotland’s Music for generously supporting the competition.

The competition is part of a weekend of traditional music at Armadale Castle, which also includes the renowned Donald MacDonald Cuach piping competition. Read a news story about the 2018 competition here. View video highlights on Facebook.

About the Patrick McDonald Collection

Each year we will ask candidates to include an arrangement from a selected a collection of tunes. This year we have selected the Collection of Highland Gaelic Airs by Patrick McDonald. First published in 1784 the collection contains the tunes to many Gaelic songs of that period from all over Scotland. The book’s two introductions give invaluable descriptions of both the music and way of life at this time. McDonald gives reference to tunes in the collection which he remembers as being the ancient harp music played in the Highlands. The clàrsach had already fallen out of use by this time but it was still within living memory, so the references are invaluable today to harp players seeking original tunes.