An artist in the true sense of the word’, concert harpist Richard Allen studied with Gabriella Dall’Olio and early harp specialist Frances Kelly at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance, going on to study in Switzerland with Letizia Belmondo at the Haute École de Musique de Lausanne. Richard was born in 1993 in Belfast, Northern Ireland, where his musical career began as a pianist, clarinettist, and traditional Irish harper.
Richard is a passionate solo artist and regularly performs solo recitals in the UK and beyond. A personal highlight was a recent performance of Mozart’s Flute & Harp Concerto with the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland conducted by Peter Whelan. His playing is often noted for its palette of shades and colours, and a depth of expression that is rarely heard on the instrument. In 2017 Richard won the 2ndPrize at the prestigious Félix Godefroid International Harp Competition in Belgium, following a 1st Prize at the North London Camac Harp Competition in 2016. He was then awarded the BBC Young Musicians’ Platform Award, playing Glière’s Harp Concerto with the Ulster Orchestra conducted by David Brophy. Among his greatest influences are some of the world’s leading harpists, including Marie-Pierre Langlamet (Berliner Philharmoniker), Anneleen Lenaerts (Wiener Philharmoniker), Isabelle Moretti (CNSM Paris), Fabrice Pierre and Sylvain Blassel (CNSM Lyon), and the late Germaine Lorenzini (Orchestre National de Lyon), with whom he has taken many masterclasses over the years.
Richard has a great love of operatic and orchestral repertoire and was the proud winner of the Philharmonia Harp Fellowship 2017-19. He now freelances across Europe and the UK with orchestras such as the BBC Philharmonic, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, RTÉ Concert Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, Opera North, Ulster Orchestra, and the Irish Chamber Orchestra. In addition to performance he is deeply involved in music education, tutoring concert harp and Irish harp. He is invited regularly as a guest tutor, most recently giving courses and masterclasses at festivals across Ireland and the UK, notably at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, and Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. Aside from music, Richard has a keen interest in psychology and is trained in applied psychology to postgraduate level.