Off Stage

Harpist Catrin Finch might have been a detective if not for music

Known as Queen of Harps, Catrin Finch (left) will play a solo recital in Singapore on Sunday.
Known as Queen of Harps, Catrin Finch (above) will play a solo recital in Singapore on Sunday. PHOTO: CATRIN FINCH

Welsh harpist Catrin Finch, 35, is no stranger to success.

Dubbed the Queen of Harps, she learnt the instrument from the age of six and quickly rose to fame, becoming a member of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain at 10 and the youngest member to play at The Proms, a series of concerts held at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

She took on the position of official harpist to the Prince of Wales from 2000 to 2004, after he revived the tradition for the first time since the reign of Queen Victoria in the 19th century.

Practise hard and explore the world around you but, most of all, keep enjoying music.''

HARPIST CATRIN FINCH on her advice to aspiring musicians

The role of the harpist is to encourage young Welsh harpists to continue pursuing music and perform at concerts.

The mother of two girls aged seven and six, whose husband helps her run a concert venue and recording space in Wales, talks to Life ahead of her solo recital at Harp Fest on Sunday.

What are your pre-show rituals?

Eating fruit while relaxing and making sure that I am ready.

Who is your inspiration?

I was first inspired to pick up the harp by Spanish harpist Marisa Robles.

Now I am inspired by music and different cultures from around the world when I travel.


    WHERE: University Cultural Centre, National University of Singapore, 50 Kent Ridge Crescent

    WHEN: Sunday, 7.30pm

    ADMISSION: $38 to $48 from Sistic (call 6348-5555 or go to

When do you feel most comfortable onstage?

I am most comfortable onstage when I am confident I know the works I am performing and so can enjoy them rather than worry about them.

What can audience members look forward to in your show?

I will be playing a selection of classical and newer pieces ranging from Hindemith to Parish-Alvars to Debussy, as well as some traditional Welsh folk music and some of my own compositions.

Your favourite piece to play and listen to?

Debussy's Clair De Lune.

How do you balance work and family life?

With great difficulty. It is hard sometimes and the most important thing is to maintain a balance.

My children understand I travel for my work and know I will be coming home, but it is hard to be away from them for so long. I think it is harder for mothers than it is for fathers. Work-life balance is a big problem for this generation.

What is the hardest part about learning the harp?

Carrying it around and getting blisters when you don't practise regularly.

What is something most people do not know about you?

I am half-German, half-English, but was born and brought up in Wales, so I consider myself 100 per cent Welsh.

How do you celebrate after each performance?

With a nice glass of wine.

What advice do you have for aspiring musicians?

Practise hard and explore the world around you but, most of all, keep enjoying music.

If you weren't a harpist, what would you be?

A detective.

How would you like to be remembered?

I would like to be remembered for making music and being open to all genres of music. The greatest pleasure for me is seeing audiences enjoy my concerts and having the ability to bring people joy through my performances.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 01, 2015, with the headline 'Musical heavyweight '. Print Edition | Subscribe