Janet Harbison studied composition for a number of years with James Wilson, Eric Sweeney and Dr Joseph Groocock. She is a much published composer with many harpers and harpists nationally and internationally performing her works. Her large-scale works include orchestral-choral suites ‘Colmcille’ (1997) and the ‘Christmas Cantata’ (1993), a symphonic collaboration with the Ulster Orchestra and flautist James Galway, and four film scores. Smaller scale works include mixed instrument ensembles and harp ensembles with from two to eight parts, harp and vocal pieces as well as many stage and student harp solos of varying length and intensity.
Her Belfast Harp Orchestra (1992-2002) became a widely renowned, world-traveled and Grammy Award winning stage production, featuring over 20 young harpers with guest professional musicians, singers and dancers. In 2002 when her organisation moved to the Republic of Ireland, two new stage groups were established: ‘The Irish Harp Orchestra’, a professional touring company and ‘The National Harp Orchestra’ a touring training orchestra.
Janet Harbison continues to work at the Irish Harp Centre with husband and fellow musician and teacher, Malcolm Gullis.