Marta Cook: Biography and Class Description
Technique and Style for Traditional Music (Harp)–ALL LEVELS WELCOME
This is a special class integrating fundamental concepts into a transformative week. Topics include beginning to very advanced technique adjustments, continuous tension release, and the relationship of the still moment between all actions to inspiration and creativity. We’ll also work with listening exercises to improve your ability to listen more deeply and express what you hear, from notes to nuances, concentrating on inspiration from piping, fiddling, and singing traditions as well as the ancient harp tradition. Finally, beginning with extremely simple music, we’ll bring these concepts together as we explore ways to make tunes come alive on the harp with technical comfort and a subtle sound palette. As the week progresses, special attention will be given to phrasing and rhythm in both solo playing and accompaniment, and ornamentation will be taught in this context. Feel free to bring specific questions and ongoing personal goals and challenges! Recording devices welcome. Multimedia resources provided. All levels from beginner to professional are welcome.
A traditional musician from a young age, Marta learned much of her music in Chicago. She is well-known as an accompanist with an interest in developing the harp as a rhythm instrument; her current solo work in traditional music particularly focuses on expanding the color palette and technical language of the modern lever harp to translate intersecting inspirations from older fiddling, piping, singing and harping traditions. Performance highlights include the 11th World Harp Congress (Vancouver), Espace Culturel Bertin Poirée (Paris,) L’Arc Scène Nationale (Bourgogne,) New York Live Arts (Manhattan,) Spoleto Festival USA (Charleston), Pritzker Pavilion (Chicago), The Irish Centre (Leeds, UK), and every major North American harp festival. Her playing has featured on many recordings including releases by Of Montreal and Yo-Yo Ma, and she has been invited to present at New York University, Evergreen State College (WA,) the University of Oregon (Eugene,) Sacred Heart University (CT,) the Irish Arts Center (NYC), and countless harp festivals. Currently, Marta’s private students and coaching clients range from complete beginners of all ages to a BMI recording artist, a Grammy-nominated solo harpist and composer, and students at Juilliard and Oberlin. Her own training is greatly indebted to Máire Ní Chathasaigh and Sarah Bullen. She is an exclusive sponsored artist of William Rees Instruments.