Alison is an exciting, creative performer on the Paraguayan
and Celtic harps. She has a warm personality, captivating
her audience with the beauty and grace of the harp. Her repertoire
is broad; from Classic Celtic and rhythmic South American
to her own poly-rhythmic compositions and improvisations based
on musical traditions from around the world.
Alison started playing the
harp while living in rural New Zealand. She taught herself
in the folk tradition and has a passion for multicultural
melody and rhythm. Her concerts and her recordings are a colourful
tapestry of sound and mood that are both exciting and relaxing.
In 1993 she built her 36-string
Paraguayan harp in a luthier’s workshop in Victoria,
Australia. In concerts she performs on this, as well as a
36-string Nova Celtic
harp. The tone of both instruments is rich and warm, well
suited to Alison’s creative arrangements and expressive
Returning to Canada from New Zealand in 1998, Alison now works
full-time as a professional musician, performing and teaching
regularly on the Westcoast and in the Pacific Northwest. She
has been the recipient of arts awards and has produced three
popular CDs, Island
and Harping On.
FROM ALISON’S RECENT GULF ISLANDS TOUR
luscious round-the-world tour – News Leader
embroidery of sound… runs, trills, triplets, glissandos
with the confidence of a
seasoned player …. Vardy is a master of the technique
of the harp – Island Tides
the talents of an exceptional musician with the technology
a sound engineering partner, Alison Vardy transcends the usual
concept of a concert performance.
Vardy is generous with anecdotes and information about her
instruments and tunes
along with offering pure, ethereal sound– Gulf
to let you know how much I enjoy your music.
I'm that Seattlite who bought your CD Friday evening.
Best $20 Canadian I've ever spent! – James R.
A Solo Harp Odyssey - Recorded in Victoria BC by Hugh
McMillan, produced by Alison Vardy. 18 tracks of original
harp music, plus Canadian, Quebecois, Sephardic, Baltic and
multi-cultural music (73 minutes)
Solo Harp – Recorded in Victoria BC by John Ellis,
produced by Alison Vardy, 16 tracks of original harp music,
plus traditional and contemporary world music (65 minutes)
On – CD only production, recorded and produced
in New Zealand – the13 tracks of solo harp music include
original compositions, South American melodies & Celtic
medleys and more (56 plus minutes of playing time).
Alison’s first performance
instrument is a 36-string Paraguayan harp that she constructed
at luthier Andy Rigby’s workshop in NSW, Australia.
This harp features on her newest CD, Island Suite. In concert
performances she also plays a 36 string Nova Celtic harp made
by John Westling of Sandpiper Harps in Oregon. This gorgeous
sounding harp features on Island Suite & Apasionada. Her
30-string gut and nylon Celtic harp made by Kim Webby of New
Zealand, and with her Paraguayan harp are both featured on
Alison’s first CD, Harping On. Alison also performs
on Apasionada with a 33-string Walter Bresch Celtic Harp of
White Rock, BC
AWARDS AND ACHIEVEMENTS
Toronto Conservatory of Music – Grade
VIII with Honours – Piano
First Australian Harp Festival – selected performer
National New Zealand Arts Council – Professional development
grant to attend and perform at the International Folk Harp
Conference in Washington, U.S.A..
World Music Conference – selected participant –
B.C. Festival of the Arts, Victoria
Alison performs at many public,
private and corporate events. The following is an abbreviated
list of her engagements since starting to play professionally
in New Zealand and then moving to Victoria BC Canada.
First Australian Harp Festival, New South Wales
International Folk Harp Conference, Olympia Wash.
Television New Zealand (TVNZ) Nature Productions
International Folk Harp Conference, Bloomington Ind.
Seattle Northwest Folklife Festival
Concert Tour, South Island, New Zealand
Victoria (BC) Folkfest
Port Alberni (BC) MusicFest
BC Festival of the Written Arts
Filberg Festival - Courtenay, BC
Hornby Island (BC) Arts Festival
British Columbia Concert Tours
Pacific Institute of Celtic Performing Arts – Shawnigan
Latin and Caribbean Festival – Victoria BC
Dancing Man Festival – Gabriola Island BC
Island Folk Festival - Cowichan Valley BC
BC Governor General’s Awards – Government House
Provincial Premier’s Conference – Victoria BC