The Future Blend Project was started by Fran Barsby, as a way of encouraging harpists and composers to work together, and giving them a platform to present their collaboration. For this inaugural concert, thirteen composers were chosen to take part and collaborate with seven harpists; some composers submitted more than one piece so, in total, sixteen new works were presented in this concert. The vast majority were written especially for the project, though several were the results of earlier collaborations. As part of the project, all works from this concert will be published by PoppyHarp, Fran’s publishing company. The concert was held at the Old Library at the Custard Factory (which, much to my disappointment, no longer contains custard), now a large and impressive hall, painted all white. The rain and wind outside fortunately did not manage to put off the audience members, and the hall was impressively full. They were rewarded for their efforts with a wonderful, engaging concert, displaying a wide array of musical languages and performance styles. I’m told the concert lasted around two hours, but it did not feel anywhere near that long, and I could happily have listened to more. I must confess to feeling a little superfluous in writing this review, since recordings of all of the pieces are now up online on the project’s blog at: http://www.futureblendproject.co.uk/blog. I would highly recommend listening to these wonderful works yourselves rather than taking my word for it. This is also fortunate as, due to the number of pieces, I’m not able to adequately review all of the performances. Nevertheless, I will mention a few that stood out to me: “Water Dance” by Ben Weatherill, a funky, energetic piece for lever harp and electronics, using repeated patterns to create a hypnotic effect, was performed by Fran Barsby with an intent focus, and sufficient expression to capture the audience’s attention without taking over the piece. She also performed her own work, “Through the Mist”, a work alternating modal passages with percussive sections. I wanted the piece to go on longer, perhaps adding some contrasting middle section, though it worked well as is – slightly reminiscent of Philip Glass’s “Metamorphoses” (in a good way!). “Fragility” by Leon Haxby is a quiet, introspective piece, featuring atonal motifs which are repeated in different registers and developed. Rita Schindler’s clear, sparkling sound suited the piece perfectly, lending it the image of a delicate crystal. Ben Parkinson Atherton’s “Foreign Halls”, performed by Vera Khait, was the winner of the audience prize for best collaboration; sounding like some sort of Irish lullaby, though simple in structure and harmony, it managed to give off an atmosphere simultaneously serene and haunting. “La Belle Noiseuse” by Dominic Sewell [this excellent piece was reviewed in our last magazine –ed.] was probably the most impressive, both in terms of the complexity of the piece, and the virtuosity of the player. The piece was a string of contrasting sections, some melodic, others percussive, and showed a profound understanding of the possibilities of the harp. Amy Turk performed it with a masterful confidence and the illusion of ease possible only for a true virtuoso. The highlight of the concert for me was Yfat Soul Zisso’s “Study for Amplified Harp”, a work exploring different sonorities and effects, which created an eerie and mesmerising soundscape (my immediate impression, as scribbled hastily on the programme, reads: “Dark, wicked cool”). Erica Sinclair gave a gripping and suitably menacing performance which made my heart race. I could happily go on for pages and describe all of the other marvels of the concert (Eleanor Turner’s magical way of breathing life into every piece she played, for example), but I shall instead urge you to listen to the pieces, and keep an eye out for the publication date. I eagerly look forward to hearing what the project continues to produce in the future!