William Close and The Earth Harp Collective coming to NYC on 9/11 Special

Posted Sep 6, 2014 by Kathleen Creighton
William and the Earth Harp Collective are returning to Manhattan this coming Thursday for one of the many 9/11 tributes happening around the city and around the country.
September 11 tribute light
September 11 tribute light
Photo by Gene Han
The Earth Harp Collective will perform at the Ritz Plaza, 235 W 48th St New York, NY. The proceeds from this performance will go to the New York Fire Fighters Burn Center Foundation and FDNY - Engine 54 Ladder 4 Battalion 9. The show begins at 7:30 and tickets are available to the public on Brown Paper Tickets
William Close is a brilliant engineer but most people, upon experiencing the Earth Harp Collective either live, in a YouTube video or an audio recording, would not think that. However, it's true. When I finally got to meet him face-to-face, it was at the World Science Festival being held on the campus of NYU Polytech in Brooklyn last year. It was the perfect setting both of us math and science nerds to finally share a hug and my experience with the Harp after the set. I interviewed Close just prior to his being a contestant on America's Got Talent and then a year later. We talked at length about all the engineering that has gone into that instrument and all the others that he has invented for the Collective.
From the first YouTube video of the Earth Harp being played at the 2011 Burning Man Festival, it became apparent that this is an instrument that one must experience live. It is mainly due to the fact that the audience becomes a part of it. With strings hundreds of feet long, it soars above the crowd placing them within the sound-box. After an Earth Harp experience, one knows that they have just been a part of something unique, beautiful and one of those many points where arts, math and science all come together. During this reporter's experience Close demonstrated the difference between how the Harp's sounds are created vs a guitar or harpsichord with the strings are plucked. It is even different from a bowed instrument such as a violin as the bow is pulled laterally across the strings. The Earth Harp's sounds are literally pulled from the strings by hands wearing resin coated gloves. The sound is the motion of the molecules in the metal not the vibration of the string. When the Earth Harp is plucked the sound is very unpleasant. A special block on each string is used to tune the instrument.
Many more people in the U.S. and eventually globally, thanks to the Internet, were introduced to the Earth Harp and the Collective during Season 7 of America's Got Talent in 2012. Curiosity, finding their appreciation of great art and William's humility kept the Harp in the competition all the way to the finale. The fact that he did not win had some positive points, mainly not being locked into long contracts with strict demands. In a later interview, he noted that the shows performed in Las Vegas, a consolation prize, were a learning experience. Being required to use a smaller tech crew who worked with the house techs meant condensing set-up and breakdown and working in a small space for multiple performances. Close said, although for special events he would do it again, it was not something he'd want to do on a day-to-day basis. He now enjoys the freedom to write, record and perform on his own terms.
Since fulfilling his requirements with America's Got Talent, Close and the Collective have been traveling the world, as they did before the show. Earlier this week the team performed for Royal Caribbean in Miami and at Mercyhurst Institute for Arts and Culture in Erie, PA. after just returning from the Singapore Night Festival. William Close and the Earth Harp Collective also recently released a remastered version of their Behind The Veil album. This release includes new artwork, a new track "Love Reign" along with new mastering of the recordings. It is available on iTunes and Amazon.
For all the latest on William Close and the Earth Harp Collective visit the official website or check it out on Facebook.