The first Japanese musician to win Scottish harp competition

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Press Release, 26/06/2018

The first Japanese musician to win Scottish harp competition

On Saturday the 16th of June 2018, the Princess Margaret of the Isles Memorial prize (for Senior Clàrsach) was won by a Japanese national Riko Matsuoka. Riko is currently studying for a Master's degree in Scottish Traditional Music at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow.
Although the Clàrsach or “Celtic harp” is often played in traditional Scottish and Irish music, even in Japan the number of performers using the shorter style harp has seen a steady increase. A recent growth in the number of performers being invited from Scotland to play in Japan has also allowed the instrument to gain a wider degree of recognition.
The Clàrsach competition, which launched in this year, is the largest of its kind in the United Kingdom and was established with the purpose of growing the interest in the instrument.
The final recitals of the competition took place in the historic and ancient Armadale Castle, located on the Isle of Skye in the Inner Hebrides.  The four remaining finalists were given 25 minutes to play live to the audience, as well as to the 4,800 viewers watching online.
Commenting on her victory, Riko stated:
“It’s an absolute honor for me, not only to win this year’s first recital competition, but also by making history as being the first Japanese musician to win...I just can’t believe it”.
Riko’s winning performance was her own hybrid of a traditional Japanese children’s song, blended with traditional Scottish music.

For enquiries, provision of photographs and interview requests related to this matter, please contact the Consulate General of Japan in Edinburgh(Phone: 0131-225-4777, Fax: 0131-225-4828, info@ed.mofa.go.jp)