Hailing from the Beara Peninsula in the South-West of Ireland, Tara Viscardi is a classical and Irish folk harpist. Tara graduated from the Royal College of Music with a Master of Music in Performance with Distinction, where she studied with Ieuan Jones and Stephen Fitzpatrick and also completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Harp Performance at the Civica Scuola di Musica Claudio Abbado, Milan under the tutelage of Dr. Irina Zingg. In 2021, her early music/folk fusion trio held the prestigious Wigmore Learning/Royal Academy of Music Fellowship.
Having performed widely as a solo and chamber recitalist, Tara has been featured at the 2022 World Harp Congress, Cardiff (supported by Culture Ireland), 2021 Harp on Wight International Festival, 2020/21 Bloomsbury Festival London, the Embassy of Ireland London, The Royal College of Music chamber music series and the Irish Cultural Centre London, in association with Irish Heritage. Previous highlights include performing at the 13th World Harp Congress Hong Kong, for Irish President Michael D. Higgins at Áras an Uachtaráin, for HRH The Prince of Wales in Hillsborough Castle, the Young Platform Series at the National Concert Hall and the Dublin Philharmonic Society recital series for emerging artists. Tara has performed in leading UK venues including the Wigmore Hall, Cadogan Hall, St George's Hanover Square, the Royal Over-Seas League's Princess Alexandra Hall, Nevill Holt Opera and given many performances at Goodenough College where she was the 2018/19 Music Scholar.
A multiple prize winner, Tara was awarded first prize at the 2021 London Camac Harp Competition for UK and Irish based young professional harpists under 30, the Irish Heritage Alen Buckley Music Bursary 2019 following her debut performances at the Wigmore Hall and Blackwater Valley Opera Festival, the John Vallery Memorial Prize for the ‘best performance by a string player’ at the 2016 Irish Freemasons Young Musician of the Year as well as first prize for senior solo harp at the national ESB Feis Ceoil and Sligo Feis Ceoil competitions. She was awarded first prize in the senior recital and concerto competitions while an undergraduate at TU Dublin Conservatoire where she obtained her Bachelor of Music (Honours) studying under Prof. Cliona Doris and Denise Kelly-McDonnell. Tara represented Ireland at the 2022 Dutch Harp Festival World Harp Competition where she presented her original programme Improvisation: Past to Present, Across Genres for solo concert and traditional Irish harp.
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. She has performed in masterclasses with many leading international harpists including Milda Agazarian, Elinor Bennet, Gabriella Dall’ Olio, Catrin Finch, Anneleen Lenaerts, Judy Loman, Gwyneth Wentink and Sioned Williams.
A passionate traditional Irish and folk musician, Tara regularly collaborates with artists across many different genres. Collaborations include recording an EP with duo partner saxophonist Robert Finegan which explores the folk music of the UK and Ireland in different contexts, a recording project with indie pop artist Jonathan Bree at Abbey Road Studios and commencing Italian Baroque Harp with Siobhan Armstrong as a recipient of the 2022 Agility Award from the Arts Council of Ireland. Tara has performed and toured extensively with the TU Dublin Harp and Traditional Music ensembles, as well as appearing on RTÉ Lyric Fm, RTÉ Ceili House and Radio Kerry. She regularly performs her own arrangements and compositions, and has been the special guest for Retreat to the Harp workshop and recital, London, and the Cairde na Cruite (Irish Harp Association) annual spring concert, also performing at their Rising Harp Stars series. Tara plays a beautiful Killarney Harp hand-crafted for her by Tim O’ Carroll in her native Co. Kerry.
In addition to performing, Tara is Administrator for Irish Heritage, Co-Artistic director of Fulham Fest and the harp teacher at Junior King’s School, Canterbury.
For an alternative length bio, please contact Tara.