Listen and learn


In the 32nd of a series of articles, David Bird discusses the work of Redbridge Music Society and introduces Belgian harpist Lise Vandermissen, who will be performing in Wanstead this month

Redbridge Music Society will round off its current season of bringing high-quality musical events to the borough with a recital given by award-winning young harpist Lise Vandermissen. Her performance will include music by Haydn, Liszt, Debussy, Ravel and the Welsh bardist John Parry, as well as more modern compositions by Freddie Mercury, alongside her own work. 

Lise graduated magna cum laude at LUCA School of Arts in Belgium with harpist Lieve Robbroeckx, followed by a Master’s degree (with distinction) at Guildhall School of Music & Drama (GSMD) in London with Imogen Barford. She then completed a two-year fellowship programme, also at GSMD. 

Lise has been a successful participant in numerous international competitions and has gained many awards and prizes, including first prize at the fifth International Harp Competition in Slovenia, second prize at the fifth International Harp Competition in Hungary and second prize at the North London Camac Harp Competition. She was awarded the Guildhall Harp Prize and was selected to be a Live Music Now musician, a Concordia Foundation Artist and a UKHA Emerging Artist. She received the Culture Prize in Bilzen, Belgium, and won places at the London Sinfonietta Academy and the Académie Camac in France. 

Lise has played as a concerto soloist with orchestras in the UK (Croydon and Guildford Symphony Orchestras), Poland, Belgium, Germany and The Netherlands, both on the modern pedal harp and on the Italian triple harp. She is also a chamber ensemblist, playing in the Duo Molinello and Aglica Trio ensembles. 

Recently, Lise performed Handel’s Harp Concerto at the London Handel Festival and has just completed a six-month residency teaching and performing at an international harp academy in Hong Kong. She gave the world premiere of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Four Meditations for solo harp and performed her own transcription of Ravel’s Le Tombeau de Couperin at the World Harp Congress in Wales. She has just recorded her first commercial solo album, Transformed, which contains many of the pieces you will hear at the recital.

Lise currently lives with her harps on a houseboat on the London canals, and when she is not playing the harp, loves to jog along the canal banks. Her recital will be a very special evening of music-making, celebrating traditional and modern music. I do hope you can join us for this final event in our current season of recitals.

Lise Vandermissen will perform at Wanstead Library on 16 May from 8pm (tickets on the door; visitors: £12; members: £8). Call 07380 606 767. Redbridge Music Society is supported by Vision RCL and affiliated to Making Music.