• bullets pic 3Born and raised in Dublin into a house of music and art - father (Jock) a musician from Tyrone, and mother (Eleanor O’Connor) an artist from Wexford; was educated in Dublin (Sion Hill, TCD, DCM) and the Waterford Gaeltacht (Ring), with a second home in the south Kerry Gaeltacht.  From 1978, Janet also lived in Germany (2 years), Cork (3 years from 1981), Belfast (18 years from 1984), in Castleconnell county Limerick (14 years from 2002) until in August 2016, returned to Northern Ireland (Derry).  In 2020, as the Covid pandemic occured, Janet spent 2 years at home in Warwick (UK) until in 2022, she commenced her work as IRC Research Scholar at TU Dublin.  She continues to commute between Warwick and Dublin/Ireland. 
  • Established solo artiste since mid 1970s; winner of all national harp competitions 1978-80 (including All Ireland Championship, Pan Celtic, Oireachtas, Feis Ceoil, Carolan and Granard National Harp Competitions), Festival Internationale de l’Harpe Celtique (Dinan, Brittany)1980, and the Isle of Man Millennium Harp Competition 1979. Toured the world with Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann (1980-84), was a guest member of the group ‘Oisín’ for the European Year of Music (5 month tour, 1985), and with Ruddiger Opperman’s ‘Harfenfestival’ (1992-99) as well as as a concert soloist or after-dinner recitalist – frequently with (Irish) President Mary McAleese (including her State Visit to China 2003), for various international state dignitaries, British and other royals, American presidents Reagan and Clinton; at the signing of the Anglo-Irish Agreement 1985 (Hillsboro Castle), at the White House, Washington DC; at many state occasions in Aras an Uachtaran, Farmleigh House, Dublin Castle; in Belfast at City Hall, Stormont & Hillsborough Castles; in London at Clarence House (Queen Mother’s residence), and at the House of Lords (St.Patrick’s Day 2011-13).  Also many solo lecture-recital tours with the American Committee for Irish Studies (ACIS), and the American Irish Cultural Institute (AICI).
  • BHO 1st generation Coshcib UFTM 1988 001Founder-director of the Belfast Harp Orchestra (1992-2002, winning the Grammy Award with the Chieftains for the ablum 'The Celtic Harp' in 1993); the Irish Harp Orchestra (1999 to 2023) and the Irish Youth (or 'National') Harp Orchestra (2004 to 2016).
  • Published 16 CDs and over 100 books of harp music (ensembles, solos, tutor books, albums, sheet music)
  • TV & film features including PBS Special (CD & DVD) entitled ‘Celtic Harpestry’, and The Celtic Harp’ (Grammy Award winning collaboration with the Chieftains 1993), BBC Young Musician of the Year interval feature, many times BBC Blue Peter, RTE Late Late Show, UTV Arts Show.
  • Founder/director of Cláirseóirí na nÉirenn / Irish Harpers’ Association (1983-94), The Harp Foundation Ireland Ltd, (Registered charitable company, 1994-2002) and The Irish Harp Centre (2002-2016) pioneering Irish harp teaching and professionalism in stage and studio, teaching, ambient entertaining, ceremonial and palliative harping.  Has taught most of Ireland’s foremost performers of today.
  • Academic background in Music & Psychology, Social Anthropology, Ethnomusicology and Irish Studies. Articles and chapters published in various journals, conference proceedings and books including 'Ulster Folklife', 'Linen Hall Journal', 'Eire Ireland', Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann's 'Adjudicator's Manual', 'Music Ireland', 'Ireland of the Welcomes'; and feature articles about Janet in American Harp Journal, Harp Column, Irish Times, Belfast Newsletter, Belfast Telegraph, Telenniurien Briez.  Lecture-recital tours with AICI (American Irish Cultural Institute) and ACIS (American Conference for Irish Studies).BHO and Cheiftains in NCH 1993 001
  • Festivals, summer-schools and conference director (including: Glencolmcille Harp Festival and Summerschools 1985-2002, 2016 - date), Belfast Harp Festival and summerschools 1986-92, Belfast Harpers’ Bicentenary Festival 1992; World Harp Festival Belfast 1992; Brian Boru Millennium Festival 2014.)
  • Composer of music for harp, piano, choral, orchestral & film music Film scores for RTE and Martello Films (award winning);  large-scale choral works (Oireachtas award for new choral works 1980); Arranger for Polygram/Universal (best selling recording: ‘Celtic Harpestry’), Chieftains (arranger of BHO harp music on Grammy Award winning ‘The Celtic Harp’), James Galway (with the Belfast Harp Orchestra and Northern Ireland Symphony Orchestra for BBC TV), Brian Kennedy (the BBC Millennium Concert from Belfast), Alfie Bow (BBC Titanic Commemoration Concert).  Large-scale works including Irish Christmas Cantata, Colmcille Suite, and Brian Boru, Lion of Ireland.

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  • Awards
    o   The Flax Trust Award ‘Reverence for Difference’ 1994 for work with the Belfast Harp Orchestra toward peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland between 1984 and 2002
    o    Honorary Doctorate, University of Ulster (1999) for pioneering work with the Irish harp and Belfast Harp Orchestra
    o    Enterprising Woman of the Year (BPW 1994) for success of ‘Belfast Harps’, an agency for harp and other musicians (training, mentoring and securing employment for women in NI)
    o    The Camac (Joel Garnier) Award (1995) for helping establish the harp in Brittany (1980-2000)
  • Visiting Professor of (Irish) Music at Ulster University (Magee College, Derry), Northern Ireland (2016-20)
    Designing courses for Traditional Music Teachers and Traditional Harp Teachers while also writing a memoir with working title: "Evolution of a Harp Teacher"
  • Research Scholar with Irish Research Council (2022-25) and PhD studies at TU Dublin (Ethnomusicology)

Read Janet's extended Biography here

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