Harp Studies

Harpist in a colourful dress with a red harp

About Harp Studies at Guildhall

The dynamic Harp Department at Guildhall School of Music & Drama combines teaching of the highest calibre with a stimulating and extensive harp course, designed to give students all the skills they need to be confident, versatile professional musicians. Enjoying an unrivalled position in the heart of the City of London, the Guildhall offers harpists the chance to study in the music capital of the world.  

Imogen Barford, Head of Harp, leads a team of distinguished professional harpists, including Charlotte SealeBryn LewisHelen TunstallKeziah ThomasLucy Wakeford, Monika Stadler, Joy Smith, and Dr Andrew Lawrence-King, each with individual areas of expertise. Their work in regular classes, masterclasses and workshops covers every aspect of harp-playing, and is enhanced by visits from guest harpists pre-eminent in the UK and abroad. 

Recent Harp Department News - Summer 2022.pdf

Individual Tuition

Individual teaching is at the heart of the department, giving students the space and support to focus seriously and thoughtfully on every aspect of technique and musicianship. The teacher and student work intensively to discover the easiest and most natural way of playing for each individual hand shape, allowing the student fully to realise their technical, musical and creative potential. 

One-to-one weekly lessons on modern harp are given by Imogen Barford, Charlotte Seale and Keziah Thomas; advanced students can take hours with Bryn Lewis, Helen Tunstall and Lucy Wakeford. Individual lessons on early harps are given by Joy Smith and Andrew Lawrence-King.

Classes

Programmes

All Harp Studies form part of the Guildhall School’s main programmes, outlined below. There are also individualised programmes of study.

For more information, contact Imogen Barford

Performance Opportunities and Venues

  • Solo concerts
  • symphony and chamber orchestras
  • chamber ensembles
  • harp ensemble
  • new music and early music ensembles
  • jazz orchestra, studio orchestra, film orchestra and big band
  • termly opera productions, including Baroque operas, and summer musicals
  • contemporary music ensembles and Ubu Ensemble

Venues include the Barbican Centre, St John’s Smith Square, LSO St Lukes, Wigmore Hall, the Museum of London, the National Portrait Gallery, the Wallace Collection, St George’s Hanover Square, St Giles Cripplegate, St Sepulchre’s, St Olave’s, HM Treasury, St Benet’s, Christ Church Spitalfields as well as the in-house Music Hall, Silk Street Theatre, Lecture Recital Room, and the fantastic facilities of Milton Court.

Facilities

Guildhall School owns a wide array of harps, with instruments from the Middle Ages to the latest electro-acoustic harp. There are ten pedal harps, plus access to an antique Gothic Erard and a single-action Erard.

The School also owns a Medieval harp, a Gothic Renaissance harp, a large Italian Baroque triple harp, and a Camac Blue electric harp. Students have exclusive use of the harp room for solo and group work, and another harp practice room is available in the Annexe.

The library has been extensively stocked with music, CDs and books, and harpists also have access to an enormous private library of solo, ensemble and orchestral parts.