Hailing from the Beara Peninsula in the South-West of Ireland, Tara Viscardi is an Irish traditional & folk, baroque and classical 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 group trio held the Wigmore Learning/Royal Academy of Music Fellowship.
Having performed widely as a solo and chamber recitalist, Tara has been featured at the 2023 An Chúirt Chruitireachta, International Festival for Irish Harp, 2022 World Harp Congress, Cardiff (supported by Culture Ireland), 2021 Harp on Wight International Festival, 2020/21/23 Bloomsbury Festival London, the Embassy of Ireland London, the London Irish Centre, the Mansion House London, The Royal College of Music chamber music series and the Irish Cultural Centre London. Further highlights include performing at the 13th World Harp Congress Hong Kong, for Irish President Michael D. Higgins and Mrs Sabina Higgins at Áras an Uachtaráin, for An Taoiseach and An Tánaiste upon their visits to London, for HM King Charles III and Queen Camilla in Hillsborough Castle, at 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, 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 Irish 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 and was a prize winner at the 2023 Wales International Harp Festival.
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, Mara Galassi, Anneleen Lenaerts, Judy Loman, Gwyneth Wentink, Sioned Williams and Laura Sofia Caramellino. She was invited to participate at the Harp Masters Academy in Bern, Switzerland from 2016-2018 and previously attended the Catrin Finch Academy, Wales and the International Harp Workshop, Italy.
A passionate traditional Irish and folk musician, Tara regularly collaborates with artists across many different genres. Current collaborations include recording an album of music from the Beara Peninsula with traditional flautist Robert Harvey, releasing an EP with saxophonist Robert Finegan which explores the folk music of the UK and Ireland in different contexts and working with countertenor Hugh Cutting. She has done recording projects with indie pop artists Jonathan Bree and Princess Chelsea at Abbey Road Studios and in 2022, commenced studies in the Italian Baroque Harp with Dr Siobhan Armstrong as a recipient of an 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, a Nuovolone Italian baroque triple harp handmade by Claus Hüttel in Germany and a Salvi concert harp.
Passionate about education and outreach, Tara is Artistic Administrator for Irish Heritage, the harp teacher at Junior King’s School, Canterbury and the harp tutor at the Irish Cultural Centre Hammersmith. She was co-artistic director of Fulham Fest from 2020-2022.
Tara is extremely grateful for the generous support of the Arts Council of Ireland, Culture Ireland, Kerry Country Council Arts, the Royal College of Music, Irish Heritage, Michael and Gianni Allen-Buckley, Carolyn Galloway, Goodenough College and her family towards her studies, development and the purchase of instruments.
For an alternative length bio, please contact Tara.