DSC 4556 2Born in Dublin in 1955 into a world of two music genres: traditional Irish and classical art music.  At Trinity College Dublin, the Dublin College of Music and Cork University, she studied performance on a range of instruments, composition and conducting and by 1981, had won every national Irish harp competition (including the All-Ireland Championship) and a number of international prizes including the Isle of Man Millennium Competition and Festival International de l’Harpe Celtique. 

After some years of performing throughout Europe and America and composing film music, she moved to Northern Ireland to pursue her doctorate and was awarded a 2 year Research Fellowship at the Institute of Irish Studies, Queen’s University. 

Then, after 8 years as Curator of Music at the Ulster Folk Museum where she established cross-community initiatives and collaborations in cultural heritage (including the formation of the Belfast Harp Orchestra) she founded the Harp Foundation Ireland, a charitable community organization which she served as CEO for 8 years until in 2002, she moved south to Castleconnell, county Limerick to establish the Irish Harp Centre, a permanent base for her orchestra and residential Irish Harp College. 

From here, she trained Irish harp players from all over the world for careers in stage and studio performance, ceremonial (weddings), entertaining (background and corporate), teaching and palliative care, creating the agency Belfast Harps to support many of her graduates in employment in Northern Ireland and farther afield. 

In 2006, Janet published her ‘Harbison Harp Method’ drawing on her 30+ years of teaching experience which is a first structured oral method of music teaching which is now being used by a growing network of music and also special needs harp teachers world-wide.  This system which also embraces creative and communal playing is currently being expanded to cater to other instruments and musical genres including the piano and is also the subject of further research in her most recent posting as Visiting Professor of (Irish) Music at the University of Ulster at Magee College, Derry in Northern Ireland. 

Janet continues to compose, perform, teach, write and travel from her new base in London (September 2016) where she is currently working on a new solo recording of original works and a new website www.JanetHarbisonHarp.com which will be launched early in 2017.