Biography

Harp Wales I am an experienced professional freelance harpist with a passionate and dedicated approach to performing. If you would like to see my CV please click here. Alternatively I have outlined below some of the experiences and fantastic training and that have shaped me as a musician, including some photos at the different stages of my career so far.

Since the age of three I began to show my fascination towards harp, I would gaze at them on the television and ask to be taken to see the harpist during concerts, if I was really lucky I sometimes got to try the harp! From age seven I spent two years learning the piano and then began harp lessons aged nine.

 

Shelley at 9 years old

Shelley at 9 years old

Shelley at the Chichester Festival Theater

Shelley at the Chichester Festival Theater

The wait was worth it and I worked hard to complete all the grades from the Associate Board of the Royal Schools of Music to Grade 8 with distinction and added to my musical experiences playing in harp ensembles, regional and county orchestras, along with providing music during theatre performances whilst I was part of the local youth theatre.

 

Shelley at St David's Hall

Shelley at St David's Hall

Emily Haughton (Flute) and Shelley Fairplay (Harp)

Emily Haughton (Flute) and Shelley Fairplay (Harp)

I studied for my degree in Music (BMus hons 2.1)  at Cardiff where in my final year, after auditions, I was privileged and thrilled to be chosen to perform as the soloist in the Boieldieu Harp Concerto with the University Symphony Orchestra which was a fantastic experience. I also met fellow student Emily Haughton ( www.emilyhaughton.co.uk ), who is a very talented flautist, and we began working together playing in recitals and at Weddings together.  We still greatly enjoy rehearsing and performing together.

 

Shelley at Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama

Shelley at Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama

 I completed my Masters course in performance on the harp (M.Mus) at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in 2006. Whilst studying for this I took part in a diverse range of musical experiences. One highlight was performing the beautiful work Danse sacrée et danse profane by Debussy at St Mary’s Church in Chepstow (see www.chepstowchoralsociety.org.uk/press/0007.shtml) and I also gained a teaching diploma from the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music.

During my time studying the harp in higher education I was a member of the National Youth Orchestra of Wales, played with the Rehearsal Orchestra, worked with various orchestras local to the area and performed the Mozart flute and harp Concerto twice. This gave me a wealth of orchestral playing experience and became an aspect of playing that I greatly enjoy.

I have been teaching the harp since 1998, with one to one teaching and group/ensembles, both privately and for various organisations including Telynau Vining Harps (www.camacharps.co.uk ), Cardiff private music service, Cardiff Music Service in Primary and Secondary schools, as the harp teacher at Christ College in Brecon and at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama Junior Department.  I am also a fully qualified Primary School teacher with two years of classroom experience where ran choirs, school orchestras, recorder groups and music workshops. To read more about my teaching please click here.

Shelley at National Botanic Gardens on St David's Day

Shelley at National Botanic Gardens on St David's Day

I am passionate about my full time work as a professional harpist as it gives me the opportunity to play throughout Wales and the UK with a diverse range of appearances at weddings, corporate events, parties, recitals, orchestras and also pit work for shows and ballets I have also organised, promoted and played in charity concerts and events. Examples of the work I have done includes playing at the National Botanic Gardens of Wales, in the pit for Me and My Girl, playing Rismky Korsakov’s Sheherazade, various work for Cardiff University (www.law.cf.ac.uk/alumni/newsletter/2008/nov/nov1.html ) and private functions at various hotels such as; St David’s Spa Cardiff, Cardiff Castle, Cardiff Museum, The Royal Crescent Hotel in bath, Holland House Hotel and even at Port Lympne Zoo with an elephant ice sculpture!  For more information on recent work please take a look at my blog.

I am devoted to my work and delight in playing music, I do hope that you will enjoy listening to me playing at your event or a concert in the near future!