// Dutch Harp Festival 2020

World Harp Competition

We live in an era of change and innovation, where even the most talented harpists may not necessarily be able to secure a major orchestra position or teaching position. As in past decades, it is no longer enough to be able to play a brilliant audition; we have to leverage all our skills both on stage and off to win over programmers and listeners. Many of today’s young musicians, as they finish their education, find themselves carving their own creative and entrepreneurial paths to musical success.

The competition

The Dutch Harp Festival embraces creativity and innovation, and through the World Harp Competition we hope to redirect the focus of harpists around the world to discover and develop what it really takes to succeed in today’s musical environment. We do this by challenging candidates to present their most authentic and creative selves to the jury, in a context that combines the very real situation of pitching an idea to a programmer and performing at a festival with the rigorous structure of a world-class international competition.

Since its beginnings in 2010, the DHF World Harp Competition has established itself as one of the most respected international competitions for harpists worldwide – one which stands out for its fairness, transparency, creativity, and supportive atmosphere. Its guiding principles include its independence from sponsorship by harp makers, its diverse jury including both non-harpists and harpists, and its rigorous voting procedure. Taking the Competition a step further, the field is now open to all harpists, not just classical pedal harpists, and the contestants have complete artistic freedom over designing their own programs. We have a captive audience waiting and excited to see what you come up with. We hope you’ll join us for the adventure in 2020!

What makes the DHF World Harp Competition different from any other? In a word: freedom. As
a candidate, you are invited to showcase your unique artistic voice by preparing your own original program. The choice of repertoire is up to you. But that’s not all; you have the freedom to involve collaborators, set the staging, bring in extra-musical elements, anything that helps you best communicate your creative vision. Such freedom may seem overwhelming, but in the end it all comes down to what you want to share with your listener. Here at the DHF World Harp Competition, we are keeping our sights firmly on the real reason we we make music. Our winners are not necessarily the ones who play with technical perfection but the ones who have both mastered their instrument and can touch the audience.

How it works

Over three rounds, candidates of the World Harp Competition compete to win the hearts of the jury and ultimately the grand prize. The competition begins with a recorded Preliminary Round, followed by the live Regional Rounds, and culminating in the Finals at the Dutch Harp Festival 2020. Watch our video coverage of the 2018 Regional Rounds to see how the World Harp Competition is making a bold break from tradition.

Read the FAQ

Winners 2018

César Secundino
1st Prize | Born in 1985 in Torreón, Mexico, César Secundino began playing the harp at the age of 19. He helped found the harp department at the State University of Nuevo León and, there, became the first harp student to graduate with a bachelor’s in harp. He later went on to study at the Superior Conservatory of Aragon in Spain as well as Berklee College of Music. His technique is a unique combination of Latin-American virtuosity and European refinement. His arrangements and compositions are performed by harpists around the world.

2nd Prize | Alice Belugou
3rd Prize | Aimee Hang Yu Lam
Audience Award | César Secundino

Tip us an unknown wonder

Do you know a harpist with a unique message for the world? If so, we want to meet them! Let us know who you think deserves to be heard in 2020.