Donald Hall

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He began playing the chromatic harp after seeing Andrew Lawrence King, the English harpist and scholar, who with his group The Harp Consort, toured Australia in the early nineties, giving concerts and masterclasses. After playing in the renaissance style of the Spanish method and exploring that repertoire for a number of years, he changed his technique over to the French style, with the advice of Madame Francette Bartholomee, one of the twentieth century’s major performers and teachers on the chromatic harp, as well as receiving invaluable guidance from Professor Florence Sitruk from the Geneva School of Music.  He has performed on the chromatic harp, in solo, duo and ensemble capacities in many concerts over the past ten years, including nationally at the Adelaide Festival, The National Sacred Music Festival, the National Shakespeare Festival, the International Shakespeare Congress, the National Harp Festival and the Woodford Music Festival. Along with colleague chromatic harpist Nicole Denington, Spanish guitarist Andrew Vievers, cellist Danielle Bentley and percussionist John Thoms, he performed Ribayez’s seventeenth century suite of court dances in concerts at the University of Queensland, City Hall and the Woodford Festival. He used chromatic harp in composer Kim Cunio and Soprano Heather Lee”s Temple Project, a reconstruction of the music of the ancient Temple of Jerusalem, and has used it extensively over the last six years in performing the Persian classical and traditional repertoires, firstly with the quartet Khidir, with Ceiavash Arean, Ben Kashi and James Coates, then later with the quintet Noor, made up of Ceiavash Arean, Siroos Alavi, Amir Naderi and soprano Dania Cornelius. The harp, once a standard part of Persian music, fell into disuse with the advent of Islam, and the music of these two groups has been one of the only places in the world where you can actually hear the full complement of Persian instruments. The chromatic harp is ideal for this style of music, particularly because you can tune quarter tones on the pentatonic row, without effecting the tuning of the other row of strings. Locally, he has performed on the chromatic harp at all the major performance venues of the city, (the Queensland Performing Arts Centre, City Hall, The Powerhouse etc.) as well as in a series of concerts in twenty of the city’s municipal libraries sponsored by the City Council.  He has taught for many years at the Queensland University of Technology, working in the Music Department and the Drama Department where he teaches courses in music theatre and musicianship as well as voice studies. He has also worked variously as an orchestral cellist, a choir conductor, Gipsy accordionist and church organist, to make ends meet. His C.D’s include “CREATION” featuring actress Diane Cilento and flautist Jane Rutter, “Classical Moments” “Celtic Harp” “KHIDIR” and “Santa’s Favourite Songs.” Away from music he has been a writer, and has penned seven plays that have been produced and a book of Persian literature, containing his translations of seventy of the poems of Thirteenth Century Persian mystic Hafiz, a new translation of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, and a totally new translation and re-edition of the 2,500 year old Hymns of Zarathustra.

jelly 249x99His plays include “Eccentrics”, based on the book of Dame Edith Sitwell, three comedies for the Supernumeraries, a group of five deeply talented disabled women; “Ladies in Waiting”, “Acting Up” and “Angels, Unicorns and Other Mythological Creatures”, an all-girl script for the Education department-“ The Heroine Trade” and two one woman shows for the internationally known Australian cabaret and comedy singer/performer Annie Lee-“ Transformations” and” Stained Glass Windows.” 

He has received awards for his contribution to music in the areas of theatre, therapy and the community. 
He lives in Brisbane, Australia, with his cat Jellybean.

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