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Harp Travels NZ In Style

Harp Travels NZ In Style For Chamber Music Concerts

Harp roadies Kurt Gibson (left) and Ross Hardie prepare to load the harp under the watchful eye of owner Carolyn Mills. Carolyn's harp is one of two being used by American harpist Yolanda Kondonassis on a tour of New Zealand with flutist Alexa Still and violist Roger Chase


Cellos have their own seats on a plane and a double bass travels as freight, but a concert harp has its own limousine and driver.

Chamber Music New Zealand tours musicians and instruments around the country all year, but transporting a 40kg 1.8m high concert harp has its challenges.

Two harps are travelling the country as part of CMNZ's latest tour by New Zealand flutist Alexa Still, British violist Roger Chase and American harpist Yolanda Kondonassis. Still/Chase/Kondonassis are performing in 10 centres throughout New Zealand.

The harps - one for the North Island and one for the South Island - being used on this nationwide tour belong to New Zealand harpists Carolyn Mills and Helen Webby, and two harp roadies will drive the instruments around the country totting up more than 4200km on the tour.

Harps are extremely expensive to freight by air and often cannot be carried by smaller aircraft. Even transporting the harps by road requires careful handling as they must travel lying down and nothing can be placed on top of them.

As a touring harpist, Yolanda is accustomed to adjusting to different harps around the world.

"I do generally borrow harps when I am abroad," she says. "It's just part of the job to be able to use a large number of different instruments."

Yolanda, who is acclaimed as one of the leading harpists in the world and has released more than a dozen albums, says she has flown her harp to venues in the past, but with the increased paperwork and security it is easier to borrow or rent "and there is a network of generous harpists around the world who help out."

Yolanda has performed two concerts already in New Zealand. The harps she is using on this tour were made by Auckland instrument maker Kim Webby and Yolanda says she is extremely impressed by the harp's sound, structure and overall high quality. "New Zealand should be very proud of this product."

Still/Chase/Kondonassis continue their New Zealand tour with performances in Auckland on Saturday 26 April, New Plymouth on Monday 28 April, Wellington on Wednesday 30 April, Nelson on Friday 2 May, Invercargill on Sunday 4 May, Dunedin on Monday 5 May and Christchurch on Tuesday 6 May.

For more information and to book tickets visit


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