The Clarsach Society is delighted to launch our new Shetland branch
ensuring we really do have the whole country covered. There had been
an active group of clarsach players in Shetland in the 1990s. but
many of the harp students and adult players had moved and the group
was dormant for almost twenty years. Fortunately, well-known harpist
Sunita Staneslow recently moved to Shetland and found that several
harpists were eager to reconnect as a group, play tunes together and
encourage new players to become members. Sunita will be the primary
tutor and will lead monthly sessions. The group is actively seeking
funds to build an inventory of rental harps and invite tutors beyond
Shetland to lead workshops and perform.

The group will meet for the first time in August and we wish them all the best.

The Iain MacLeòid Young Composer Award 2023 – The Winner!

The Clarsach Society and the Edinburgh International Harp Festival are proud to announce that the 2023 winner of the Iain Macleòid Young Composer Award is Donnchadh Mac Aodha.

Harp player Donnchadh Mac Aodha is a composer and multi-instrumentalist from Dundalk Co.Louth, Ireland. 

Currently studying composition under the direction of John Godfrey as part of his BMus degree at University College Cork, Donnchadh is both a traditional Irish and classical musician and finds himself most at home with these genre allowing his bi-musical upbringing to influence his works. In particular, he is drawn to the Irish language and deals with ideas of belonging and identity in his music. 

Already a prize winning composer, having taken away honours from the New Ross Piano Festival and the West Wicklow Chamber Music Festival Composition Competition, The Clarsach Society are thrilled to award him The Iain Macleòid Young Composer Award. 

We look forward to hearing the premiere of his award-winning composition Ambaist at the Edinburgh International Harp Festival in April. 

The judging panel were very impressed with the exceptionally high standard of entries and would like to congratulate all of the participants

Bursaries 2023

Each year The Clarsach Society offers bursaries to encourage promising players at any level who have limited resources, financial or otherwise.

Bursaries up to £500 are awarded for use towards attending an approved course with Scottish content (e.g. Edinburgh International Harp Festival), tuition or alternatively the award can be the use of a harp provided free for one year. Any member of The Society, with the exception of trustees, may apply.

  • Awards of up to £500
  • Open to clarsach players of all ages
  • For instrument hire, private lessons or courses with Scottish content
  • Deadline 1st November 2023

The Iain Macleòid Young Composer Award 2022

The Clarsach Society and the Edinburgh International Harp Festival are proud to announce that the 2022 winner of the Iain Macleòid Young Composer Award is Anna Eggerberger.

We are thrilled that Anna will be with us in Edinburgh to perform her winning composition at our festival in April.

About Anna:

Originally from south Bavaria in Germany. Anna Eggerberger moved in 2018 to Ireland to study lever harp at the Irish World Academy in Limerick. She graduated with a Bachelors in Performing Arts last year (2022) and has returned to the Irish World Academy where she is currently studying a Masters in Irish Traditional Music.


Please note the recent changes to our Bursaries scheme—previously known as a Scholarship.

In the current financial situation facing us all, The Society wishes to continue in as many ways as possible with our aim to encourage and support individuals of all ages to take up and continue to play the Clàrsach.   In addition to our harp hire scheme which offers harps for members’ use  at such reasonable rates, we are able to invite applications for a bursary  award of up to £500, open to members with limited resources.  Details can be found here.

A’ Chlàrsach aig a’ Mhòd / The Clàrsach at the Mòd

If you didn’t catch the première of our special online performance, celebrating 90 years of friendship and collaboration between The Clarsach Society and the Royal National Mòd, it’s still available to view via the Mòd’s online player:

Enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime collection of top-class musicians performing and reminiscing, united in their affection for the Mòd and The Clarsach Society.