Asni the Harper
Not your average harper, Asni belongs to a new generation of harpists who have been pushing the limits of the instrument well beyond the usual repertory of Celtic folk tunes and classical easy listening.
Her international standing as an innovative and exciting performer, and an authority on early harp performance, was confirmed when she was invited to appear at the World Harp Congress in Dublin in 2005, and the following year, performed and taught at the Edinburgh International Harp Festival 2006 – two of the most prestigious international events in the world of harping. She is featured in the BBC World Service's documentary "Destination Music – Scotland", which covers contemporary trends in the ancient harp tradition.
Since 2003, Asni has lived in Wellington, NZ, where she has been teaching historical harps at Victoria University Wellington. She has performed at events as diverse as the Wellington Fringe Festival, the Parihaka International Peace Festival, and a Medieval jousting tourney in Taupo.
In 2003, she was asked to entertain 700 international guests at the "Return of the Ringers" Fan party on the eve of the world premiere of Peter Jackson's "Return of the King" movie in Wellington, and she also performed at the public premiere of the same movie at the Embassy theatre a few weeks later.
In 2005, she toured for Chamber Music New Zealand with her 700 Years of Pop programme, which is also available on CD. Her most recent CD Travels in Middle-earth was released in 2007, after the programme was road tested to much acclaim both in New Zealand and on Asni's most recent European tour in 2006, which took her to Scotland, Germany, Sweden and the Czech Republic.
Asni specializes in playing authentic reconstructions of medieval and baroque harps, but her repertory is not restricted to music of those periods: She has adapted contemporary pop and film tunes, including Beatles songs and themes from the "Lord of the Rings" soundtrack, improvises fluently, and writes her own compositions.
Prior to settling in New Zealand, Asni has performed widely in Europe and the United States. She has worked with early music ensembles including Chanticleer (U.S.A.) and the Drottningholms Barokorkest (Sweden), and taken part in Opera productions in Amsterdam, New York, Rome and at the famous Drottningholm theatre near Stockholm, Sweden.
From 1993 to 1999, she was a member of New York based early music ensemble ARTEK/458 strings. As a member of this ensemble, she toured the U.S with the Mark Morris Dance Group in 1997 and 1998. She has participated in several CD recordings, as well as radio and TV productions.
As well as being an accomplished performer, Asni holds an M.A. in music history and theory. Her research into Spanish continuo practice in the early 18th century has been published in several musicological journals. She has edited the harp music from Lucas Ruiz de Ribayaz' collection Luz y Norte Musical for King's Music, London, in 1991. In 2004 she founded her own publishing company Harp & Hobbit Press.
Asni is always happy to share her profound knowledge of European culture and music as a lecturer, coach or in an advisory position to projects where historical accuracy is required such as films, events, theatre or radio shows.
In 2007, Asni decided to retire from public performance, and now concentrates on her work as a web designer and multimedia artist, and as composer. as well as looking after her growing publishing business.