About me

Welcome to my website. I hope you enjoy listening to the tracks that are available here. You can also read about my background as a musician and about various creative collaborations I have been involved in.


Classically trained, I love to play chamber and orchestral music as often as possible. However, I also relish the challenge of moving beyond the traditional harp repertoire and the sounds associated with it.


As an open-minded and versatile player, I'm happy to consider all kinds of projects, functions and commissions. Please browse through my resume and the music samples, and feel free to contact me. I'm currently based in London, but am also happy to travel further afield. 







My first instrument was piano. My grandfather taught me to play and read music long before I'd had any formal lessons, and this kindled a great love for music at an early age. Only years later, when I began playing the harp in ensembles and orchestras, did I discover that I loved playing with other people far more than playing on my own. As the harp facilitated that kind of interaction, the instrument then became the focus of my energy. Attending a high school for the performing arts in Pretoria, South Africa, I was tutored by internationally renowned harpist, Moya Wright, and met some fantastic performers across various disciplines, many of whom are still good friends today.


After school I began working for various orchestras as a freelance harpist. Then in 1994 I won my dream audition: playing Principal Harp for the Kwa-Zulu Natal Philharmonic Orchestra in Durban, South Africa, and played with them for three years. This experience opened my mind to a world of possibilities. I enjoyed working in the theatre environment, where there were opportunities to meet so many wonderful musicians, artists and thinkers. This was also a period during which I taught harp at the University of Natal, and was resident harpist at the Royal Hotel in Durban. At one point I was invited to perform for Former President F. W. De Klerk and Kwa-Zulu Natal Premiere Mr Frank Mdlalose. I also played for HRH The Princess Royal and was asked to perform for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, HRH Prince Phillip and King Goodwill Zwelitini.


Since moving to London in 1997, I have performed for the Prince of Wales and the Duke of York. I have also performed as a soloist and in chamber ensembles for gala openings including the opening of the Lucien Freud exhibition at the Tate Britain, and openings at the Royal Academy of Arts and the Courtauld Gallery. In 2000 I performed at the Wimbledon Tennis Champions dinner.


In 2001 and 2002, I worked with the Victor Salvi Foundation in the UK, a foundation dedicated to the advancement of the harp and music for the harp. I was exposed to a lot of new music being written for the harp and met phenomenal harpists who continue to redefine the scope of the instrument. I also continue performing in orchestral and ensemble concerts as a freelance harpist, working regularly with orchestras such as the Brunel Ensemble and the Aurelian Ensemble.


In 2005 I enrolled on an MA in Contemporary Approaches to English Studies at Goldsmiths, University of London. This course furthered my interest in how and why we connect as humans. I have continued to discover, develop and discuss the concepts involved in my work in adult education and teacher training. By re-examining these ideas through language I am able now in turn to draw them back to music, exploring them through collaborations with other artists.


I started working with the critically acclaimed indie band Songdog in 2009 and have performed on two of their albums. I have also been involved in promoting South African music in the UK, leading to being invited to serve on the committee of the South African Achievers Award in 2012, an organisation that recognises and rewards UK based South African excellence. Please visit the Projects page for more information on projects and collaborations I'm working on at the moment.

Alison Blackhall Harpist London wedding events