If you think harps are only played by angels or elderly ladies in ballgowns, think again.

Harpist Sophie Rocks is just 23, and although her roots lie in the traditional music of her childhood home on Shetland, she can turn her hand to everything from folk songs to big band and cutting-edge contemporary music. On Wednesday 15 and Thursday 23 August at Gallery 23 (Atholl Crescent) Sophie will be performing Notes from Shetland to Shanghai, an enthralling musical journey taking you all the way from her peaceful northern archipelago homeland to the largest city in China.

Sophie spent her early years playing folk harp. A pupil at the City of Aberdeen Music School, she moved on to study pedal harp at the Royal Northern College of Music.  At RNCM she was introduced to music from many countries, and came to realise just how versatile her instrument could be.

You can get a taste of Sophie’s beautiful playing here :

A first class honours degree has been followed by a vibrant and diverse freelance career; Sophie’s played all over the UK and been featured on In Tune (Radio 3); she’s been Principal Harpist of the RNCM Sinfonietta at the Cantiere Festival in Italy, and performed Max Richter’s Recomposed: Vivaldi – The Four Seasons  with Cosmo Strings at the Malta Arts Festival. She also plays for weddings – she even drove to Yorkshire through snow for four and a half hours in March to make sure a bride and groom weren’t disappointed!

Sophie’s new programme really showcases the harp’s diverse nature; it includes music from Canada, Israel, Holland– and of course Shanghai and Shetland. Let Shetland’s premier harpist introduce you to some of the best music from around the globe. You will never hear the harp played like this!


Notes from Shetland to Shanghai will be at Gallery 23, Atholl Crescent (Venue 207) at 3pm on 15 and 23 August. Tickets are available from Fringe Box Offices or online here.