First Prize Winner of the Camac Harp Competition at the 2021 North London Festival, Irish harpist Tara Viscardi recently graduated from the Royal College of Music, London with a Master of Music in Performance (Distinction) where she studied with Prof. Ieuan Jones. She also completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Harp Performance at the Civica Scuola di Musica Claudio Abbado, Milan under Prof. Irina Zingg, and is a 2021 Wigmore Learning/Open Royal Academy of Music Fellow as member of early music/folk fusion trio Nobody's Jig.
Having performed widely as a solo and chamber recitalist, recent highlights include appearances at the Bloomsbury Festival London, Dublin Philharmonic Society recital series, the Irish Embassy in London, The Royal College of Music Chamber Music series and the Irish Cultural Centre, in association with Irish Heritage. Previous highlights include performing at the 13th World Harp Congress Hong Kong, for HRH The Prince of Wales in Hillsborough Castle, and for Irish President Michael D. Higgins at Áras an Uachtaráin. Since residing in London, Tara has performed in venues including the Wigmore Hall, Cadogan Hall, St George's Hanover Square, and the Royal Over-Seas League's Princess Alexandra Hall as well as presenting performances at Goodenough College where she was the 2018/19 Music Scholar.
Tara obtained her Bachelor of Music (Honours) from TU Dublin Conservatoire, where she studied with Prof. Clíona Doris and Denise Kelly McDonnell, and received chamber music coaching from Vanbrugh Quartet members Simon Aspell and Keith Pascoe. During her time at the conservatoire, she was awarded first prizes for senior recital and concerto, and made her concerto debut with the then DIT Symphony Orchestra. Further awards include the John Vallery Memorial Prize for the ‘best performance by a string player’ at the 2016 Irish Freemasons Young Musician of the Year, runner up for the 2018 Irish Heritage Music Bursary for Performance as well as being a finalist for the 2020 Cherubim Music Trust Harp Competition. Tara is a multiple prize winner at Irish classical Feiseanna (national music competitions), having won all major prizes for harp, and has been featured as soloist in the ESB Feis Ceoil Young Platform Series held at the National Concert Hall, Dublin. She was the overall winner of the Kerry Rotary Young Musician of the Year and a finalist in the Rotary International Britain and Ireland Young Musician of the Year held in the UK in 2013.
Twice selected for the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra Mentoring Scheme, Tara was the harpist for the 2021 English National Opera Evolve Scheme, and has previously been principal harpist with the European Doctors Orchestra, Ulster Youth Orchestra and Irish Symphonic Wind Orchestra, as well as a past scholarship recipient of the National Youth Orchestra of Ireland.
A passionate Irish traditional musician, Tara regularly performs her own arrangements and compositions. Having performed and toured extensively with the TU Dublin Harp and Traditional Music ensembles, she has performed Live on RTÉ Ceili House and Radio Kerry. In 2018, she was a finalist in the World Music Competition at the Wales International Harp Festival, accompanied by piper Fionn Ó hAlmhain and flute/bodhran player Jack Ó hAonghusa, winning the Confucius Prize. She has been special guest at the Cairde na Cruite (Irish Harp Association) Spring Concert, and also performed at the Rising Harp Stars series at the Cairde na Cruite International Irish Harp Festival. Tara plays a beautiful Killarney Harp hand-crafted for her by Tim O’ Carroll in her native Co. Kerry.
Tara was very grateful for the generous support of the Arts Council of Ireland, Goodenough College and the RCM during her postgraduate studies.