Born in Pembrokeshire, Wales in 1985, Claire began her musical education at the age of seven. After excelling at the violin, piano and harp, she graduated as a harpist from the Royal College of Music with First Class Honours in 2007 and in 2009 graduated as an M.A. scholar from the Royal Academy of Music. Claire was one of the first recipients of the Prince of Wales Advanced Study Awards in 2007 and 2008. This award recognised her as one of Wales' most outstanding young talents.
In 2007, Claire was appointed Official Harpist to His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales, a role she held until 2011, making her the longest serving Royal harpist to date. During this appointment, Claire regularly performed for the Royal Family and their distinguished guests at the Royal Palaces. In April 2011 she performed for the newly married Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at their wedding reception in Buckingham Palace.
In 2008, Claire made her concerto debut with the Philharmonia Orchestra, and since then has gone on to perform as a soloist with some of the World's leading orchestras including the English Chamber, Zurich Chamber, European Union Chamber, and a solo appearance with Maestro Gergiev and the Mariinsky Theatre Ballet. Career highlights include concerto tour appearances with Sir James Galway; a guest appearance at the International Harp Festival in Rio de Janeiro; solo recitals in Wigmore Hall and Cadogan Hall, concert performances alongside Bryn Terfel , Alfie Bow, Elin Manahan Thomas and Claire Rutter; a duo recording with Julian Lloyd Webber; and recordings with The National Youth Choir of Scotland.
Claire is passionate about promoting her instrument as well as performing, and regularly visits schools and communities to speak and demonstrate.
Claire is an ambassador for The Prince of Wales's Children and the Arts Foundation and is the face of international jewellery company, Clogau Gold.
Welsh harpist Claire Jones, acclaimed for her "virtuosity, enthusiasm, and showmanship" (Daily Mail UK), became a household name in Britain and recognized around the world when she performed at the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at Buckingham Palace in April 2011. Now, Silva Classics (Silva Screen Records) is releasing Royal Harp Strings, a gorgeous selection of classical and folk arrangements for harp and string orchestra. A compilation of two top-charting albums in the UK, the music on Royal Harp Strings is being released for the first time in North America to coincide with Jones' American tour. Claire Jones first came to international attention in 2007 when she was named official harpist to HRH The Prince of Wales; over the course of her four-year tenure she performed at over 180 royal engagements, including private recitals for the Queen.
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Saturday 30th March is possibly the day after we will have left the EU, but it is definitely the day of Edington Arts' first concert of 2019. Organisers say, "What's more, starting at 2.30pm and finishing with tea and cakes at about 4pm, it will also be our first afternoon concert in the Priory Church. "To help you banish the Brexit Blues, our artists for the afternoon will be the former royal harpist Claire Jones, returning by popular demand, accompanied this time by her percussionist husband Chris Marshall. He made a fleeting appearance last time, which left us wanting more!
"Everyone who was at Claire's first Edington Arts concert in 2016 will remember the beautiful playing by this hugely talented harpist, and her lively personality. The addition of percussion to the mix will give us an even broader range of classical and contemporary music, much of which they have recorded, and performed all over the world.
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Welsh harpist Claire Jones became a household name in Britain when she performed at the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at Buckingham Palace in April 2011. Now she brings her formidable talents to the US in the form of Royal Harp Strings, a new album from Silva Classics released in conjunction with her 2016 American tour. As former official harpist to HRH The Prince of Wales, Claire talks with WGTE: Toledo - Brad Cresswell about her early interest in the instrument, performing for the Royal Family, choosing the music on this album, and her struggle with a debilitating illness, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which almost derailed her career.
LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW
New Classical Tracks is a Syndicated Feature airing Nationally on Classical 24 & Statewide on Minnesota Public Radio. Listen to Julie Amacher's Feature with Claire Jones.
READ THE TRANSCRIPT - If you know the name Claire Jones, you were probably following the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton in 2011. Claire Jones was serving as the official harpist for HRH Prince of Wales at the time. Her four-year appointment culminated on April 29, 2011. "And that royal wedding was something else in terms of profile and exposure," Claire explains. "I could never have imagined to have had an opportunity such as that and I don't think I ever will have an opportunity like that again. And I'd always wanted to be the royal harpist as well, that was one of the big goals in my life, one of my dreams. So I was ready for that position, and I tried to make the most of it, really."
After a thousand TV and radio interviews surrounding the royal wedding, the career of this young harpist skyrocketed. She began touring the globe, trying to maintain a crazy schedule until she realized her body was wearing out. "I was 27 at the time and in 2013, there had been a buildup of a couple of years of symptoms … pain in my body and fatigue and also quite a bit of migraines and headaches and I was trying to push through, really. I ended up in hospital; I'd had a seizure. And at that point, I think I realized this is quite a bit more serious than I could have imagined. I felt drained of energy … and there was no arguing with my body. It took over."
That's when Claire was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome.
"Luckily, I found three practitioners in the U.K. who helped me privately get better over 18 months to two years," Claire says, "and I'm thrilled to say I'm absolutely fully recovered now. I'm leading a very normal life and fully fit, and I've just returned from a tour in America. And really this album is the soundtrack to my recovery as well."
The release of her new recording, titled Royal Harp Strings, has been part of her healing process. "Lots of pieces connect with that part of when I was ill in bed and wasn't able to move much and they're calming and soothing and there are other pieces that are upbeat and full of life, which is to do with me now," Claire says. "I'm fully fit now and it kind of represents all the stages of my recovery.
"And I'm all for presenting music on the harp in a new way, you know, in quite a modern way really in playing pieces that people would recognize, and really, that's what this new album I've released in the U.S. is all about. It's solo harp with string accompaniment; it's the London Mozart Players and the English Chamber Orchestra here in the U.K. And it's a collection of pieces that really mean a lot to me, personally."
What makes this recording even more personal is that Claire collaborates with her husband, Chris Marshall, who arranged and composed several pieces. including the traditional song, "Scarborough Fair."
"He kind of tried to show the light and the dark of my recovery," Claire says of the piece. "And 'Scarborough Fair' really fits that mid-section of my recovery. There are bits that are light and positive, but there are moments of dark undertones where he manages to twist the arrangement around a little bit. It ends on a high, on a very positive major key, and I just think he's managed to capture that bit of my recovery in a very good way."
Chris Marshall composed an original work titled "Bluestone," which allowed Claire to return to her childhood home as part of her recovery. "'Bluestone' is based on the Preseli Mountains where I'm from," Claire explains. "I was born in that area in Pembrokeshire [in Wales]. The bluestone exists there. They were used to form Stonehenge as well. And Chris would take me in the car up to the mountains to see the view of the bluestones. And the bluestone - the myth is that they're quite healing and mythical and magical stones. So I'd like to think that they had some sort of role in my recovery. And of course, being in the area I was born means all the more."
It's hard not to be charmed by the story and the music of this young harpist, who knows how to pull at those Royal Harp Strings. "I don't just want to reach people with my harp music, I want to reach them with my life experience as well, you know, it's a package," she clarifies. "And I want people to feel like they can speak about these things and relate to these things because so many of us go through such big things. And it's nice to feel like someone else has been there as well, and you can relate to them."
Welsh-born harpist Claire Jones has released her third CD -- her first in the United States -- "Royal Harp Strings," with the strings of the London Mozart Players and the English Chamber Orchestra, on the Silva Classics recording label. Her husband, composer and percussionist Chris Marshall, arranged the music. I spoke with Claire Jones about the CD, being a Royal Harpist, the illness that paused her career for almost two years, and other aspects of her whirlwind life.
LISTEN TO THE SEGMENT
Tune in throughout the week for tracks from KDFC: San Francisco - CD of the Week. For the Week of March 14 KDFC selects Royal Harp Strings from harpist Claire Jones.
Claire Jones is a Welsh (of course!) harpist who spent the years 2007 to 2011 as Royal Harpist to the Prince of Wales, performing at more than 170 royal engagements. This week's CD of the Week is her "Royal Harp Strings", containing twelve tracks of music that creates an atmosphere to soothe, relax, and unwind. Selections include a the theme from Downton Abbey and folk tunes from the British Isles, as well as classical favorites by Holst and Saint-Saens. Ms. Jones has spoken publicly about her struggles with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. She credits many of the works on this album as her "soundtrack to recovery".
SEE THE KDFC PAGE
Claire Jones, Former Royal Harpist, is in Richmond this week to perform two concerts and share her talents and experiences with young students. She first came to international attention in 2007 and over the course of her four-year tenure as Royal Harpist she performed at over 180 royal engagements, including private recitals for the Queen.
Ms. Jones will perform as part of the Music from Grace series at Grace Baptist Church tonight (Thursday) at 7:00 p.m. and Friday evening at 7:00 p.m. at Seventh Street Christian Church (on Grove Avenue). Her husband, composer and percussionist Chris Marshall, will accompany her on several pieces. She will be performing selections from her new CD Royal Harp Strings, which includes a gorgeous selection of classical and folk arrangements for harp and a bonus for Downton Abbey fans- a solo harp performance of the Downton Abbey theme song!
The events are presented by the HARPS Foundation, which promotes awareness and raises funds in support of Sound Experiences, a music education program for underserved youth serving over 750 youth through tuition-free, multi-day per week music education. LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW WITH WCVE: Richmond - Mike Goldberg
Take a listen to my chat with Claire Jones and her live performances on my show...
Former Royal Harpist Claire Jones serenaded News 6 TV - Richmaond "Virginia This Morning" with two special performances. She played at the April 2011 wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. Jones, acclaimed for her "virtuosity, enthusiasm, and showmanship" (Daily Mail UK), became a household name in Britain and recognized around the world when she performed at the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at Buckingham Palace in April 2011. Silva Classics (Silva Screen Records) is releasing Royal Harp Strings, a gorgeous selection of classical and folk arrangements for harp and string orchestra. A compilation of two top-charting albums in the UK, the music on Royal Harp Strings is being released for the first time in North America to coincide with Jones' American tour, and the Harps Foundation is hosting a special presentation and reception tonight Wednesday, March 9th for Claire Jones at 5:30pm at Community Idea Stations in Richmond. She has concerts on both Thursday, March 10th and Friday, March 11th.
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Each week KDFC: San Francisco members can download a free mp3 from some of the biggest releases in the world of Classical music. This week's pick is Welsh harpist Claire Jones. Acclaimed for her "virtuosity, enthusiasm, and showmanship" (Daily Mail UK), Jones became a household name in Britain and recognized around the world when she performed at the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at Buckingham Palace in April 2011. Now, Silva Classics (Silva Screen Records) is releasing Royal Harp Strings, a gorgeous selection of classical and folk arrangements for harp and string orchestra. A compilation of two top-charting albums in the UK, the music on Royal Harp Strings is being released for the first time in North America to coincide with Jones' American tour. Claire Jones first came to international attention in 2007 when she was named official harpist to HRH The Prince of Wales; over the course of her four-year tenure she performed at over 180 royal engagements, including private recitals for the Queen.
Grab the track Toss the Feathers, a traditional Irish tune, from this new CD. Download it now, absolutely free!
The prestigious and virtuous Welsh artist Claire Jones rose to national and worldwide fame with his work as an official harpist to the Prince of Wales, and later with his performances at the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Buckingham Palace in April 2011 besides due in more than 180 real shows and private recitals for Queen Elizabeth. In this disk (North American premiere), another example of his mastery of demanding instrument performs a repertoire of pieces for harp ranging from traditional pieces to operatic selections Welsh. Accompanied by two respectable groupings: London Mozart Players and the English Chamber Orchestra.
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