DSC 4556 2Born in Dublin in 1955 into two worlds of music: traditional Irish and classical art music.  At Trinity College Dublin, the Dublin College of Music and Cork University, Janet studied performance on a range of instruments: principally piano, composition and conducting and won a number of national competitions at the Feis Ceol.  As a traditional musician, she played and developed informally within the community of traditional music, first on whistle and bodhran, and after taking up the harp at age 13 (with Mairin Ferriter at Sion Hill), she brought her harp to the session.  By 1981, Janet had won every national Irish harp competition (including the All-Ireland Championship) and a number of international festival competitions (including the Isle of Man Millennium Competition and Festival International de l’Harpe Celtique, Dinan). 

After some years of performing throughout Europe and America and composing film music, she moved to Northern Ireland primarily to pursue her doctorate but, with 'the troubles' (civil strife) still raging, found purpose in using music as a meeting place for the two traditions.  Janet was awarded a 2 year Research Fellowship at the Institute of Irish Studies at Queen’s University, Belfast from where she progressed to the appointment of Curator of Music at the Ulster Folk Museum.  Here, she established cross-community initiatives and collaborations in cultural heritage (including the formation of the Belfast Harp Orchestra (Grammy Award winners with the Chieftains), directing the Belfast Harpers Bicentenary Festival (including the World Harp Festival Belfast), establishing the Harp Foundation Ireland Ltd, a charitable community organization which she served as CEO for 8 years from 1994 accruing many awards and accolades for her achievements in helping the peace process (including an honorary doctorate from Ulster University).  In 2002, Janet moved to Castleconnell, county Limerick establishing the Irish Harp Centre, a permanent base for her harp orchestra and residential harp college. 

At the Irish Harp Centre, Janet trained up and directed another community of professional harpers and teachers -  with residential and non-residential students and apprentices from all over the world who aspired to careers in stage and studio performance, ceremonial performance (weddings), as entertainers (background and corporate), teachers and as therapists in palliative health-care. With her regular touring Irish Harp Orchestra (with management in Munich, Germany), and having published her traditional (oral) ‘Harp Method’ (with 6 tutor books and teacher support manuals (2006), and having further developed the Irish Harp College examinations system, teacher and examiner training courses, Janet was at her busiest. 

2014 heralded the Brian Boru Millennium year and another focus on festivities marking the importance of the ancient Irish High King and our national emblem.   Janet's new work: the 'Brian Boru: Lion of Ireland' suite with bagpipe bands, massed children's and adult choirs and a 100 strong harp orchestra which was premiered and the highlight of the festival at St.Mary's Cathedral Limerick.  After various events hosting ministers of state and President Michael Higgins animated activities in the following years and in June 2016, Janet returned to Northern Ireland and academe as Visiting Professor of Music at Ulster University at Magee College, L'Derry.   Revisiting her background in ethnomusicology, psychology, linguistics and pedagogy, Janet spends much of her time now researching and writing on the subject of oral harp learning.    in March 2020 she presented the keynote speech at a symposium at Ulster University Belfast on 'Irish Harp, by Note, Rote and Reason'.   

Now based in Warwick, UK, Janet commutes between the Republic and Northern Ireland for her various activities, and continues to compose, perform, teach, write and record.