Nadia Birkenstock

Nadia Birkenstock (Harp)

Photograph of Nadia Birkenstock (Harp)Nadia Birkenstock was born in Solingen in the north west of Germany. She started playing the piano at age of five and grew up listening to lots of classical music. Her first contact with the Celtic harp happened when she saw the legendary Scottish harp duo "Sileas" perform, and she instantly fell in love with the sound of the instrument and the spirit of Celtic Music. Thanks to a scholarship she received her first vocal training in the States (Westover School, Connecticut) and afterwards studied voice major at the Music Conservatory of Duesseldorf in Germany.

She taught herself to play the Celtic Harp at age 16 and attended masterclasses for Celtic Harp with Kim Robertson (USA) and Bill Taylor (Scotland) and others. During her vocal studies she started her solo program for Celtic Harp and Vocals and is sucessfully appearing in concerts at festivals, folk-clubs, concert halls, churches, castles and other nice places in Central-Europe.

TV and radio appearances (German Television SWR, RBB, France Musiques, Celtic World Radio Australia and others). She also frequently plays for the Irish Embassy in Germany. Besides her repetroire of traditional Celtic folk songs and harp tunes, she is also successfully performing her own songs and compositions.

In 2001 her first Solo-Album "Emerald Isles" was released with a repertoire of celtic music and three of Nadia's own compositions, followed by "Wandering between the Worlds" (2003) and "Winter Tales", which will be released by LAIKA-Records in Octobre 2006. Besides her solo appearances she also likes to duet with Sebastian Fuhrmann (Percussion, Keyboards, Bouzouki) and the folk group "Morris Open".

The Celtic Harp

The Celtic Harp is one of the oldest instruments of the world and plays a major role in the musical tradition of the Celtic countries Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

The Celtic harp flourished in the middle ages in Scotland and especially Ireland, where it was an aristocratic instrument and played at king's courts and before clan chiefs. Hard times for the Celtic harp in Ireland began around 1400 with the invasion of the English and by 1600 not many harpers and instruments were left.

Despite several revival attempts over centuries this instrument was almost completely forgotten and had her big renaissance only in the 1970s. Even today the Celtic Harp (clairseach) is the national symbol of the Irish (you can, for example, find it featured on the back of the Irish Euro-Coins.)

Celtic harps can differ very much in size, design, way of construction, material and sound. Since the Celtic Harp is a diatonic instrument (no chromatic scales), many models are equipped with small levers at the upper end of the strings, with which the strings can be shortened and thus the tone be altered a semi-tone upwards.

The harp that Nadia mostly plays at her concerts is build by German harp maker Frank Sievert.  (rosewood, tuning: E flat, 34 gut strings).


Contact Details

Keltische Harfe
Linengasse 14
D-77743 Neuried 2

Tel +49 (7807) 957 657
Web Site

CD's and Sheet Music by Nadia Birkenstock