janetrehearsingju09Many generations of players, teachers, entertainers and harp therapists of all ages and abilities have risen from Janet Harbison's  highly effective oral training method that ensures joyful, intuitive, creative and stylish, Irish and Celtic harp playing today. Among her protegees are Michael Rooney, Grainne Hambly, Laoise Kelly (the early years), Lucia McGinnis, Lucy Kerr, Paul Dooley, Deirdre Macklin, Padraigin Caesar, Maria McGowan and hundreds more that have progressed to rewarding careers and international celebrity.

Evolving the oral tradition

Until 1975, there were no publications of music for Irish harp players - but a vibrant oral tradition that had evolved in Ireland for over a millennium earning Irish harp players a reputation for international excellence.  Janet  believes that the oral tradition offers particular benefits, accessibility and flexibility for players and students of all ages, stages and standards - ensuring their ability to create, adapt and develop their own music, to effortlessly improvise, arrange, accompany and read notation as well as play confidently within the oral tradition.     

for the Harp Orchestra Movement

Janet has pioneered tirelessly to bringing the Irish harp to an international audience and her greatest success was the Belfast Harp Orchestra.   From 1992-2002, the BHO Harp session w Malcolm n Smileywas a concert troupe of over 20 harp players aged between 10 and 25 years, joined by guest musicians, dancers and singers for concerts, international tours, film features and TV appearances.  Conceived as a cross-community project that contributed valuably to helping build Peace and Reconcilliation in Northern Ireland with its membership, music and support network drawn from both communities - international notice came within weeks of launching whenthe Cheiftains took the orchestra on tour with them to the world's most prestigious venues including New York's Carnegie Hall, Washington's Kennedy Centre, Boston's Symphony Hall, London's Royal Festival Hall.  Together with the Cheiftains, the BHO won the Grammy Award in 1993 for their album 'The Celtic Harp', and ever since, for over 18 more years (though renamed as the Irish Harp Orchestra from 1999), the orchestra has toured in its own right throughout Europe, performing at festivals, state events and in Europe's greatest concert venues... 

Honing the method for effective teaching

Servicing the training needs of the Belfast Harp Orchestra members while also maintaining her busy schedule of performances, writing and academic work, focused Janet on teaching and stage-training with the maximum of effectivity and efficiency.  Out of this developed her training programmes and teaching method.   Her syllabus, 6 tutor books and a wide range of supporting volumes with an extensive catalogue of 'concert ready' compositions and arrangements, are now widely available and in use world-wide.   (The books are currently being translated into Japanese!).   

... for harpers in the new Millennium

Janet now offers her training to the harping world with a range of Harp Weeks and summer-schools, live and Skype lessons, career guidance, examinations, teacher training and certification. 

From Ireland, have harp, will travel....

Janet Harbison, director of the Irish Harp Centre in Castleconnell, Co.Limerick (2002-2016), is now based in London and in Derry / Londonderry (Northern Ireland) where she is Visiting Professor of Music at Ulster University, but in 2019 will be touring in Australia (April and June), Japan (May), Canada (and possibly the USA) (September-October).  Please contact me if you and your harp group might like me to visit with you...