Strings, Harp & Guitar

Guildhall Symphony Orchestra rehearse in the Barbican Hall

About Strings at Guildhall

Violin | Viola | Cello | Double Bass | Guitar | Harp

Individual lessons and masterclasses • Chamber music • Orchestra • String Ensemble 

The Department of Stringed Instruments emphasises individual tuition underpinned by intensive chamber coaching and orchestral training, and will prepare you for an exciting and rewarding future in all areas of the profession.

Led by Louise Hopkins, the Department is supported by a staff of pre-eminent world-class performers and professors who share a passion to guide and support the talented, curious musicians that enter Guildhall School. Guildhall Strings alumni are members of leading chamber ensembles and orchestras internationally, and many are among the most sought-after string performers and teachers, including Imogen Barford as Head of Harp and Robert Brightmore as Head of Guitar, with David Takeno as the School’s first International Chair of Violin.

Recent visitors include Christian Tetzlaff, Ettore Causa, Gordan Nikolic, Nobuko Imai, Bruno Giuranna, Donald Weilerstein, Thomas Riebl, Janine Jansen, Leonidas Kavakos, DaXun Zhang, Midori; principal players of the London Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, National Arts Centre Orchestra of Canada, Leipzig Gewandhaus and Royal Concertgebouw Orchestras, and the New York Philharmonic; members of the Emerson, Takacs, Brentano, Endellion and Danish String Quartets.

The Harp Department combines individual teaching of the highest calibre with a stimulating and extensive course of study for harpists. Work in weekly classes covers every aspect of harp playing, including orchestral, chamber music, practising and teaching skills, jazz and improvisation, contemporary musicianship, light music, historically-informed style, and contextual studies.

The Guitar Department offers comprehensive training at the highest level in both solo and chamber music performance. The central part of the programme is the solo repertoire of the last four centuries. During the second year students take theorbo lessons which lead to continuo work. And in Year 3 and 4 chamber music and concerto playing are essential parts of the syllabus.

Watch the video

Find out more about Strings training at Guildhall from our students and staff in the video below.

Strings contact details

Liam Donegan, Strings Department Manager
Tel: 020 7382 7392

Roberto González-Monjas conducts the GSO in a rehearsal

Performance & Collaboration

Studying music at an internationally-renowned conservatoire means you can become immersed in a world of performance from day one.

Undergraduate study

Postgraduate study

Activities & Ensembles

  • Principal Study lessons
  • Intensive chamber music coaching (inter- and cross-departmental)
  • Public solo and chamber music concerts
  • Solo and chamber music competitions
  • Mock orchestral auditions
  • Participation in New Music Ensemble (by audition)
  • Second Study (by audition)
  • Repertoire orchestra
  • Side-by-side reading sessions with members of professional orchestras
  • Studio orchestra
  • Chamber, Symphony Orchestra and String Ensemble projects, with orchestra sectional rehearsals led by London Symphony Orchestra players
  • String Labs and Professor Platform lecture/workshop series, featuring a broad range of topics
  • Internal performance platforms designed to enhance performance and boost confidence
  • Solo, chamber and orchestral masterclasses
  • Jazz, Early and Contemporary Harp
  • Harp Teaching Skills
  • Strings at Six and Chamber at Six performance series

Hear our double bassists share their experiences of training at Guildhall, from symphony orchestra concerts to chamber and baroque music.

Highlights, Successes & Alumni

Harpist with hands on the strings in a rehearsal


Individual Lessons • Masterclasses • Chamber Music • Orchestral and Repertoire Studies • Jazz, Early and Contemporary Harp • Teaching Skills • Skills for the Digital Age

The Harp Department combines individual teaching of the highest calibre with stimulating, wide-ranging study covering all aspects of harp playing. Our aim is to produce self-starting, versatile and creative musicians, at home in every part of the profession.

Imogen Barford, Head of Harp, leads a team of distinguished professional harpists, including Charlotte SealeBryn Lewis (Principal Harp, London Symphony Orchestra), Helen Tunstall (Principal Harp, London Sinfonietta), Lucy Wakeford (Principal Harp, Royal Opera House and Nash Ensemble), Keziah Thomas, Joy Smith and Dr Andrew Lawrence-King (early harp), and Monika Stadler (jazz harp), each with individual areas of expertise. Their work in weekly classes covers every aspect of harp-playing, including orchestral, chamber music, practising and teaching skills, jazz and improvisation, contemporary musicianship, light music, historical and contextual studies and career planning in the digital age.

Regular masterclasses are given by guest harpists pre-eminent in the UK and abroad. These have included: Catherine Michel (France), Nancy Allen (US), Sivan Magen (Israel/US), Sylvain Blassel (France), Marie-Pierre Langlamet (France/Germany), Isabelle Perrin (France), Helga Storck (Germany), Erika Waardenburg (The Netherlands), Anneleen Lenaerts (Belgium), Catrin Finch (Wales) and Chantal Mathieu (Switzerland).

Postgraduate harp studies at the Guildhall School are tailored to the precise needs of each student.

Read more about the programme and recent news from the Harp Department

Alternatively, for all harp enquiries, please email the Harp Department.

Four guitarists perform on stage


Individual lessons | Chamber Music | Masterclasses

The Guitar Department offers comprehensive training at the highest level in both solo and chamber music performance.

The course is led by the eminent and highly experienced international soloists, Robert Brightmore, with renowned soloists and chamber music specialists David Miller and Jorgen Skogmo, and takes advantage of David Miller’s expertise as one of Britain’s most distinguished early music specialists. William Carter teaches plucked instruments as well as core subjects in the Department of Historical Performance.

The central part of the course is the solo repertoire of the last four centuries. During the second year students also take theorbo lessons which lead to continuo work. In years 3 and 4 chamber music and concerto playing are essential parts of the syllabus.

During the course there will be frequent performance opportunities and masterclasses by pre-eminent guest guitarists and musicians.