Harpist hopes to hit the right note

A YOUNG harpist and percussionist is about to take the classical music world by storm with the launch of her debut album.Julia Thornton, 31, who was born in Ipswich, is no stranger to the music industry, having experience with the London Philharmonic Youth Orchestra – and a tour backing rock star Bryan Ferry.

A YOUNG harpist and percussionist is about to take the classical music world by storm with the launch of her debut album.

Julia Thornton, 31, who was born in Ipswich, is no stranger to the music industry, having experience with the London Philharmonic Youth Orchestra – and a tour backing rock star Bryan Ferry.

Julia whose parents live near Bury St Edmunds, decided from the age of three that she wanted to learn to play the harp and soon discovered she had a natural talent with the instrument.

She gained a coveted place at the Royal Academy of Music and has since enjoyed stints with a number of orchestras including the National Youth Orchestra and the London Philharmonic Youth Orchestra.


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Her life-changing moment came in 1999 when her talents were spotted at a yoga weekend by Clare Davies, the wife of Bryan Ferry's producer Rhett Davies.

Julia auditioned for Ferry, who was looking for a percussionist, and was asked to accompany him on the Roxy Music Reunion that year as a percussionist and toured with the band across the globe in 2001/2001.

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Now she is about to launch her first solo album Harpistry with EMI, less than a month before the first solo release of fellow East Anglian classical music star Myleene Klass.

She said: "It's very satisfying. The last four years I've worked very hard with Bryan and Roxy Music, backing the behind Bryan, and it's nice to have the opportunity to come into the foreground.

"It's just a fantastic opportunity. It's very straight, classical harp. We've not tried to jazz it up.

"I've had some positive feed back from Classic FM. I am as confident as anyone can be with a debut album as a new artist. I think it will go down well."

Since leaving college at the age of 24, Julia's music career has soared, never leaving her in the same place for very long.

She admitted there is no place better than her parents home in Suffolk to unwind from a hectic schedule.

"I miss Suffolk when I'm not there as my mum has ducks in the garden and I like running in the countryside. It's nice to get away from the noise when I come off a tour, it's much more relaxing."

The album, which includes 13 classical tracks, will coincide with Julia's first single Aria From the Goldberg Variations (Bach).

In October, Julia is set to tour with Ferry as a percussionist in his band and will open each show with a harp solo.

Myleene, who was brought up in Gorleston, is to release her eagerly awaited first classical album Moving On next month. It will include 12 tracks featuring the former Hearsay star playing the piano and singing pieces from classical composers.

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