Amy Turk is a harpist, arranger, composer and session artist from the UK.
Aged six, Amy was already determined to become a harpist. At seven she began a decade of study with Ann Hughes-Chamberlain, a former pupil of legendary French harpist and pedagogue Lily Laskine.
Within a year Amy had joined the ranks of The Hindhead Harpists, a harp quintet showcasing Hughes-Chamberlain’s most capable students. The group gave recitals, and performed at private functions and public events, including the 1998 Petworth Proms, attended by eight thousand people.
During her school years Amy was a prizewinner at various local music festivals on both harp and piano, including twice winning first place at Woking Young Musician of the Year. She began studying orchestral percussion aged twelve, and accepted a place at the Junior Royal Academy of Music to study harp and percussion in 2004. Her first pop arrangement for harp ensemble was performed at the Royal Albert Hall the same year. At sixth form college she studied transcription, arrangement and composition with Dominic Sewell, and studied music technology in addition to her continuing harp and classical music studies.
Prior to beginning a undergraduate degree in music technology in 2008, Amy began playing keyboards for power metal band Sorcerer’s Spell and Dadaist duo Ben & Amy, playing many gigs and festivals around the UK. During her first year at Bath Spa University, she began performing with guitarist Mike Dawes on the national folk circuit, sharing bills with notable acoustic guitarists such as Jon Gomm, Thomas Leeb, Tommy Emmanuel and Pierre Bensusan. In her second year at BSU she transferred to a music degree, studying with Ruth Faber and majoring in composition. In 2010 she was a finalist in the YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011 competition.
After graduating from BSU with first class honours in 2011, Amy secured a highly sought-after place on a Masters course at London’s Royal Academy of Music, to study under head of harp Karen Vaughan, former co-principal harpist of the London Symphony Orchestra. During preliminary studies with Vaughan she was awarded a diploma in performance with distinction by the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music.
While at the Academy she also received tutelage from Skaila Kanga, Helen Tunstall, Thelma Owen and Park Stickney, and attended masterclasses with many notable harpists including Catrin Finch, Isabelle Perrin, Isabelle Moretti, Erika Waardenburg and Milda Agazarian. In 2013 she was consulted by composer Paul Patterson on several of his new works for the harp, including Fantasia for Harp and Orchestra, Op. 116 for the 2014 Dutch Harp Competition, and Lizards, Op. 111, which she performed at its London premiere.
For her final recital Amy transcribed and arranged J.S. Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, BWV565, drawing heavily from the original organ score and consulting with organists at the Academy in order to properly convey the timbral details of the original work, in addition to incorporating authentic German baroque ornamentation. She also performed the world premiere of a specially commissioned new work, Dominic Sewell’s La Belle Noiseuse. She graduated from the Academy with distinction in 2014.
While Amy had begun uploading videos of her harp arrangements to YouTube in 2011, it was her 2015 video of the Toccata and Fugue that brought her playing to wider attention. Since then she has produced a diverse range of content taking in everything from Tchaikovsky and John Williams to Napalm Death and Anthrax, showcasing her arranging abilities as well as her technical prowess on the harp, and attracting over ten million views to date. Amy draws on not only her extensive classical experience and training but also from her time in the acoustic fingerstyle guitar scene, using experimental percussive and extended techniques to produce a wide variety of sounds and textures.
In addition to her arranging work, Amy is currently working on a trio of original songs for solo harp, planned for release in 2019. If you would like to be involved in Amy’s continuing artistic journey, you can pledge your support on Patreon.