A very short biography...
Born and bred in the Island of Jersey, I graduated from King's College London in 2005 with a degree in music. I chose to attend university rather than conservatoire because of my interest in music history and because I am a polyvalent musician - I play lots of different instruments, sing, compose and arrange. When not performing I am most well-known locally as a teacher of violin (my "first study") and piano.
Compared to the violin, which I began aged seven with the local music service, playing the harp seems like a recent venture. However, as an adult learner I had years of musical knowledge and maturity behind me and with hints and tips received from harpists and harpers I know it has been a comparatively swift journey. A few years down the line, and having already performed professionally, I'm now confident in the service I provide as a harper.
You may notice that I use the term "harper" rather than "harpist". The difference is similar to that between a "fiddler" and a "violinist" - that is to say, I concentrate on playing folk and "Celtic" repertoire, rather than classical music. I also play a smaller lever harp rather than the large harps you see in a symphony orchestra - something which it is important that clients realise in advance. The smaller harp is suited to most of the repertoire I play and has the advantage of being considerably more portable. It is, however, not a "mini harp" or a beginners' harp - the lever harp is an instrument in its own right and the earliest harps had neither pedals nor levers, being limited to a diatonic scale (like having a piano with only white notes).
My interest in early music continues - having been inspired by a recent trip to Ireland for the "Scoil na gClairseach" (Irish Harp Summerschool) a whole new world has just opened up for me - that of the traditional wire-strung clairseach/clarsach, as featured on any kitsch Irish thing you can think of. These wire harps require a completely different technique, which is proving tricky to learn, but they sound so beautiful that I just had to come home with one after my week's holiday!