2002 – Director and teacher: Irish Harp College & Music School, Castleconnell, Co. Limerick. Responsibilities involve:
- Teaching 3rd level full time students taking harp performance, teacher training, palliative harp therapy, with apprenticeships in professional musicianship at the Harp College.
- Teaching harp to to students from age 7 upwards
From 1999 – Director: Irish Harp Orchestra
Stage production company presenting Irish music concerts (with dancing). Up to 34 artistes (largely young professional musicians). Recent concert venues include Munich Philharmonic and Prince Regent Theatre, Koln Philharmonie, Amsterdam Concertgebou
From 2005 – Director: National Harp Orchestra
Training concert production for young musicians from age 10. Concerts, tours and student exchanges. Recent concerts include international music festivals at Arles, France; Maubeuge, Belgium; Pan Celtic Festival, Tralee
Past (Full time positions)
1994-2001 – Chief Executive Officer, and Educator: The Harp Foundation (Ireland) Limited. Music Education organisation (Registered charity) promoting inter-community relations through music performance on all traditional / folk music instruments in Northern Ireland. In association with other community organisations, schools or independently, the HFI established traditional music schools in Belfast, Derry, Garvagh, North Down, Newry and Rostrevor. Many of these continue to run all managed now run by former students. The most visible project of The Harp Foundation (Ireland) Limited was the Belfast Harp Orchestra.
The Belfast Harp Orchestra (1992-2002) evolved from a cross community initiative involving the establishing of a concert production group of between 18 and 25 traditional musicians (including harpers), singers and dancers. Evolved from a performance project for the 1988 bicentennial celebration of the Belfast Linen Hall Library whose founders hosted the Belfast Harpers’ Assembly in 1792. The concert (scored and scripted by JH) featured 22 children in a ‘restaging of the Harper’s Assembly which was conducted by Havelock Nelson and presented by Sean Rafferty. It was recorded by BBC and made into 2 programmes which showed the potential for cross-community collaboration around the (politically ambiguous) harp. In 1992, the concert group was launched as the Belfast Harp Orchestra, which after the declaration of peace in September 1994, expanded its membership to include Scottish and Uilleann pipers, Lambeg Drummers and Bodhran players etc. 8 albums published; toured extensively with and participated on 3 albums and a commercial video with The Chieftains (one which won a Grammy Award 1993). Performance venues included Carnegie Hall New York, Boston Symphony Hall, Kennedy Centre Washington, Royal Festival Hall London, National Concert Hall Dublin. Also performed and recorded for BBC with flautist James Galway (scores composed Harbison). Special concerts include concert for opening of Belfast Waterfront Hall; BBC live Millennium broadcast from Belfast City Hall with singer Brian Kennedy (scores arranged Harbison); numerous recordings for BBC Blue Peter, Songs of Praise, Anderson on the Box; RTE: The Late Late Show.
Educational activity with Harp Foundation :
Part Time Lecturer, Performing Arts, Limavady College (Co.L/Derry, 1999-2001)
(Part-time post, 2 days/wk in 3rd level college, formerly Limavady Technical College)
Part Time Music Teacher, Garvagh Primary School (Co.L/Derry, 1994-99, 1 day/wk)
Part Time Music Teacher, Balleeran Primary School (Co.L/Derry, 1994-96, ½ day/wk)
Part Time Harp Teacher, Our Lady’s Grammar School (Newry 1994-99)
Part Time Lecturer, Continuing Education, Queen’s University (1996-99)
in ‘Irish Traditional Music’, ‘Cultural Heritage’, ‘Music History in Ulster, 16-20th century’
Part Time Palliative Music Therapist: North Down Trust Hospitals (1994-2000),
Professional, up to 6 hrs/wk periodically with Artscare, an Arts Council-ND Trust Hospitals initiative
1986 - 94- Curator Of Music: Ulster Folk & Transport Museum.
Department of Education cultural heritage facility for Northern Ireland. Responsibilities included:
- Advising and assisting Dept of Ed. Curriculum & Examination Board (Northern Ireland) on Irish music for primary and secondary schools. Particular involvement in advising on Irish Music for GCSE including the writing of supporting work books for students, course manuals for teachers and secondary school teacher training at regional Music Centres.
- Lectures/workshops for GCSE students for Queen’s University., Ulster Hall, Belfast
- Researching and publishing on NI cultural heritage
- Management and documentation of music content of national sound archive (housed at UFTM)
- Organisation of a calendar of events representing Ulster’s cultural traditions including seasonal festivals with associated cultural activity, marching bands (all kinds), Scottish bagpiping, traditional music, chamber music, song, step and set dancing; and
- Organisation of special events such as:
World Harp Festival Belfast 1992 (Artistic & Executive Director)
International harp festival commemorating the bicentenary of the Belfast Harpers’ Assembly of 1792. May 7th – 17th, 40 international artistes from 5 continents, festival of concerts, master-classes, lectures, historic tours and special events. Funded by Belfast City Council, Community Relations Council, Cultural Traditions, N.I.O., NI Arts Council and others
1992 Belfast Harpers Assembly & Bicentenary Harp Competition
Summerschool, conference and ’1992 Harper’s Assembly’ July 1st - 13th. Major archiving project involving over 30 Irish harpers contributing to 4 days recording project surveying the tradition of Irish harping 200 years after the original event. Also involved international harp competition (over £7,000 prize fund) with over 40 competitors sponsored by Waterford Crystal and Belfast Crystal. Judges: Derek Bell & Robin Huw Bowen (Wales)
1984 – 86 – Junior Research Fellow:
Institute Of Irish Studies, Queen’s University Belfast.
Research into the manuscript collection of Edward Bunting dating from the Belfast Harper’s Assembly of 1792. Also preparing a PhD dissertation for Dept. Social Anthropology on the role of music in the revolutionary process in Ireland over 4 centuries (and 1792 Harper’s Assembly in particular). (Appointment to UFTM and death of my tutor intercepted its completion)
1985 - 2000 Palliative Harp Therapist (Part Time)
Northern Ireland Hospice, and with ‘Artscare’ in the North Down Trust Hospitals (Regional Hospital, Newtownards & Bangor)