“Jones’ sensitivity and panache enchant the senses.” – BBC Music Magazine
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.
On Royal Harp Strings, Claire Jones is joined by the London Mozart Players and the English Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Stuart Morley, in beautiful new arrangements for harp and string orchestra. Sumptuous selections from the world of opera include the Flower Duet from Lakmé, “O Mio Babbino Caro,” and the “Song to the Moon” from Rusalka. Also featured are a dramatic arrangement of “Scarborough Fair,” arranged by Chris Marshall; a soothing rendition of the Welsh lullaby “Si Hei Lwli Mabi” (Go To Sleep My Baby); and a joyous version of the Irish folk tune “Toss The Feathers.” Claire also performs the theme from the British film Ladies in Lavender, as well as a bonus track, a solo version of the theme from Downton Abbey.
In March, Claire Jones will be heard in several US performances, including C2, duet recitals with her husband, composer and percussionist Chris Marshall. Jones and Marshall will appear at Valencia College in Orlando, Florida on March 4; at St Luke’s Lutheran Church in Oviedo, Florida on March 6; on the Grace Concert Series in Richmond, Virginia on March 10. Claire will also perform with the American Youth Harp Ensemble, including a performance in Richmond on March 11, followed by a solo recital as part of the Green Spring Concert Series in Frederick, Maryland on March 12.
Born in Pembrokeshire, Wales in 1985, Claire Jones 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. Since making her concerto debut in 2008 with the Philharmonia Orchestra, Claire has performed with the English Chamber, Zurich Chamber, and European Union Chamber orchestras. Other highlights include a solo appearance with Maestro Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky Theatre Ballet; concerts in Rio de Janeiro; solo recitals in Wigmore Hall and Cadogan Hall; and musical collaborations with Sir James Galway, Bryn Terfel, Alfie Bow, and Julian Lloyd Webber.
Claire has spoken out publicly about her struggles with ME Chronic Fatigue syndrome. She suffered from the illness for about 18 months, returning to full health last year. Claire credits many of the works on Royal Harp Strings – originally released in the UK as Journey – as her “soundtrack to recovery,” adding “I hope the music on this new album will be as soothing and as uplifting for listeners as it has been for me.”
Claire Jones is also an ambassador for The Prince of Wales’s Children and the Arts Foundation, and is the face of international jewellery company, Clogau Gold.