About Robin

Interview with Canadian Harpist Josh Layne after a performance at the 10th Rio Harp festival:

New Zealander, Robin Ward, is currently emerging as an international soloist, and has performed more than 200 recitals over the past five years throughout Australia, Germany, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Robin independently released his debut album No Pedals Attached in February 2009, and his second solo recording is currently being prepared for release.

Robin principally plays the triple harp, which has three rows of strings and no pedals or levers. He is the first New Zealander to complete post graduate studies in historical harp performance, focusing on the Triple-strung harp at Victoria University’s School of Music, Wellington, New Zealand. Robin has successfully completed both a BMus (Honours, 1st class) and a MMus in Baroque Harp Performance under the guidance of early music specialists Euan Murdoch and Douglas Mews.

Robin started learning to play the lever harp at the age of 9, before moving onto the pedal, or orchestral harp, on which he completed a Bachelor of Music in Pedal Harp Performance at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, under the guidance of Carolyn Mills (www.carolynmillsharp.com), principal harpist of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.

Over the course of completing his studies on the pedal harp, Robin worked with various regional orchestras, and held the position of Principal harpist for the New Zealand National Youth Orchestra in 2000 and 2001.

After becoming dissatisfied with the orchestral world he stumbled across a recording of someone playing the triple harp, and decided he liked what he heard. After investigating the triple harp further, and discovering the prohibitive cost of buying one at the time, especially after being a student, he took a typical Kiwi approach, and set on building his first instrument. He had to design and build his own harp from information found in historical sources and photographs of surviving instruments. Also too, because of the scarcity of triple harp teachers worldwide Robin has ultimately had to teach himself to play the triple harp. Robin is indebted to the kind guidance and assistance of London based harpist, musicologist and harp-maker Dr. Mike Parker (www.parkerharps.com) for his extensive knowledge and also to New Zealand harp-maker Keith Harrison for the generous use of his workshop and helping to construct Robin's first triple harp. 

Robin’s approach to the triple harp has grown from being an early music specialist, to treating the triple harp as a generalist instrument, on which he is constantly exploring what can be played.

Outside of the world of harp Robin is a steam train enthusiast where he spends some of his spare time working in the locomotive shed at the Leighton Buzzard Narrow Guage Railway. Recently he has also started exploring making and playing the viola da gamba, a predecessor to the violin.

© Robin Ward 2018