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Imagine finding a rare and historically important instrument in the skip, and that skip over 3,000 miles from where the instrument was made. That is just what Julie Finch did when she spotted a harp in a dumpster on West 26th Street in New York. The harp was, thankfully, the last a bit of ‘rubbish’ to be put into the skip from the clear out of a recently defunct shop. Finch rescued the harp and asked her friend Lorcan Otway for some advice about it. The Irishman knew immediately this was something special; its highly decorated soundboard and blue teal colour marked it as old and, on closer inspection, they discovered the maker’s name - one Egan of Dublin.

Nancy Hurrier, a leading authority on Egan harps, told Otway that his Egan was crafted between 1813 and 1820, making it one of the oldest of its kind. The harp is one of only about seventy of Egan’s instrument that have survived to the present day and only five of them are in private ownership. Otway said it was as rare as a Stradivarius and he intends bringing the instrument to Europe for full restoration this winter.
It has been reported in the New York press that Otway plans to hold an annual concert featuring music on the Egan that will benefit charitable causes. “Harps like these really belong to the community,” Otway says. “I want to make sure it is played, and has a life.”

Permalink - Posted: August 28, 2009 at 11:07 am