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The International Harp Contest

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Join a magical musical experience that takes place every 3 years, the international Harp Contest in Israel

Israel’s 21st International Harp Contest will be held in the magnificent Knights’ Halls in Old Akko, a city that was declared by UNESCO as an international heritage site.

The Israel International Harp Competition, which is identified with King David story, was the first harp contest in the world.  It was established in 1959 by Aharon Tzvi Propes. The former chief conductor of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Mr. Zubin Mehta, serves as honorary president of the contest. Members of the Israel International Harp Contest’s musical committee, spearheaded by musical director Ms. Julia Rovinsky, volunteer their time, efforts, and talents to ensure the success of the contest.

The harp competition is held every 3 years and is as acclaimed as the Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Contest.  The contest is organized by the Harp and Nightingale Association; and in its 62 years of existence, more than 500 competitors have come to Israel to participate.

The contest also encourages original harp compositions.  Each contest selects an Israeli composer to present an original composition.  The first contest commissioned Israeli composer Paul Ben-Haim to compose a solo for the harp, entitled Poem and Intrada by composer Yosef Tal. For the 17th contest, Yitzhak Yedid was commissioned and performed his composition, Out to Infinity. This year the commissioned work is “suite for harp” by Avner Dorman.

In 2009, the Israeli Stamp Service issued a stamp in honor of the contest’s jubilee event.

The contest is held in four stages, where the first prize – a gold plated harp – created by Lyon & Healy and valued at US$55,000 is traditionally donated by the Salvi Foundation.  A special prize will be awarded by the Mayor of Akko.  Additional prizes have been generously donated by the friends and supporters of the contest.

The contest is supported by Ministry of Culture and Sports Cultural Administration, the Akko Municipality, the Old Akko Development Company, Lyon & Healy – a leading international harp manufacturer, and Israeli and foreign foundations and individuals.

Winner of the 20th contest held in 2018, Lenka Petrovic will open the contest and play in the opening concert.

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Lenka Petrovic, winner of the 20th contest, 2018
Emily Levin USA, the 17th Harp Contest, 2009
Harpist