Karen Marshalsay is one of the few players exploring all three Scottish harps, (wire, gut and brays). Coming from the folk world of workshops, and lessons from top players including Alison Kinnaird she now performs and composes for harps, and for other instruments and ensembles. Karen has produced works for Celtic Connections’ New Voices, Hands up for Trad’s Distil showcases, Drake Music Scotland, and Harps Northwest (Composer-in-residence, 2016) and orchestrations for the Russian String Orchestra (2018, 2019). Karen’s solo album, The Road to Kennacraig, (July 2019) shows her to be “a fine composer of tunes in a living tradition”.

In April 2022 Karen received one of Sound and Music’s Covid-19 Composer Awards: 

“I am delighted to receive this award, and am especially grateful for Sound and Music’s support during these pandemic times when live music has been so restricted. This award means I can record new music for the wire-strung harp, taking an ancient instrument into contemporary soundscapes. It will also expand the perception of me as a strictly traditional musician and allow me to continue developing my own creative practice as a composer.”



The Road To Kennacraig (Extract)