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Our showcase for artists invited to perform on the program and talk about their music
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Our list of 50 essential classical CDs
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Bruce Adolphe's "name that composer" piano quiz
Live in Studio 4A: Catrin Finch

Listen to the feature (19:22)

photo gallery icon Photo Gallery: Catrin Finch

Catrin in NPR's Studio 4B
Catrin Finch
in NPR's Studio 4A
Credit: Nerissa Paglinauan, NPR Online
Catrin Finch

Live in Studio 4A

audio icon 'Danzas españolas, Op. 37': Andaluza (Granados)

audio icon 'Clair de lune (Debussy)

audio icon 'Bugeilio'r Gwenith Gwyn' (Trad. Welsh)

audio icon 'Santa Fe Suite': Sun Dance (Matthias)

Nov. 28, 2003 -- At the age of five, Catrin Finch heard the Spanish harpist Marisa Robles in recital, and knew immediately that she wanted to play the harp, the national instrument of her native Wales. Born in 1980 in the small town of Llanon, Finch began harp lessons with Elinor Bennett at age eight, and for eight years made the four-hour round-trip for two-hour lessons every other week. At age 16, she moved to London to study at the Purcell School, then eventually at the Royal Academy of Music.

In 2000, Finch was appointed Royal Harpist to HRH The Prince of Wales, who revived the age-old tradition that had ceased in 1870, under the reign of Queen Victoria. As Royal Harpist, Finch must play for the Prince of Wales about four or five times a year at various functions. In an interview with PT host Fred Child, Finch reveals, "The whole idea is that it does give the chance for a young Welsh harpist." Though the appointment was to last only two years, she was reappointed last year for another two.

With her latest CD, Crossing the Stone, her debut on the Sony Classical label, Finch attemps to bring the harp into the 21st century. She claims, "The harp has kind of been stuck in time a little bit. It's had it's problems becoming a solo instrument, you know. It's still only really just being accepted as a solo instrument, and capable of doing all these things, playing all genres of music. For me, we did the CD to show really that the harp is capable of everything and anything." Crossing the Stone, a collaboration with Karl Jenkins, Finch's fellow Welshman and composer of Adiemus fame, presents some familiar tunes in new ways, crossing classical, jazz and rock elements.

Finch asserts, "It's about time [the harp is] moving on from the heavenly kind of thing its got about it... Modern harps are such strong instruments, so robust [and] people are writing accordingly for them these days."

In Depth