Anne-Marie O’Farrell

Photo of Anne-Marie O’Farrell

Professor of Harp

Leading harpist of her generation, Dr Anne-Marie O’Farrell from Dublin performs all over the world as a solo artist, accompanist and in ensembles, and is frequently invited to perform and teach at international conferences and festivals, including several World Harp Congresses. She is particularly recognized for her expansion of repertoire, and for her innovations on lever harp, as a result of which the world’s leading harpmakers Salvi Harps redesigned their lever harps to become concert instruments.  She has given multiple premieres of many works for pedal and lever harp, some commissioned especially for her. Orchestral and ensemble performances include those with the Irish Baroque Orchestra, the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, the Crash Ensemble, the Irish Memory Orchestra, and the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra with whom she was concerto soloist. Her groundbreaking developments in composition, arrangement and transcription for the harp are documented in her substantial output of publications, including a critical edition of Bach’s Cello Suite no. 6 for lever harp. Many of her works feature in exam and competition syllabuses used around the world.

A prolific recording artist, she has released several solo CDs, including Just So Bach, Harping Bach to CarolanThe Jig’s Up, My Lagan Love and Embrace. New Directions for Irish Harp; Double Strung and Duopoly with Cormac De Barra; and Harp to Harp with harmonica player Brendan Power.

Highly experienced as a pedagogue, she has taught for many years in Ireland including at the TU Dublin Conservatoire, Maynooth University, Mary Immaculate College (where she was composer in residence), and has mentored international students in harp performance and composition.

Her degrees include a PhD in Composition from Queen’s University Belfast, a First Class Honours MA in Performance and Musicology from Maynooth University, a First Class Honours MA in Composition from Maynooth University, and a BA BMus with German from University College Dublin. She holds Licentiate and Associate diplomas in performance and teaching in pedal harp, lever harp, piano and singing. Currently she enjoys undertaking further study of Alexander Technique (ITM).

Her specialisms include new music, creating transcriptions and critical editions for recital performance, vocal and instrumental accompaniment, advanced lever harp techniques, Kodàly method, Irish traditional music, and harp ensemble direction.

In recent years she has been commissioned to compose several large-scale works featuring the harp, including a lever harp concerto commissioned by RTÉ Lyric FM, a five-movement work for large harp ensemble commissioned by Harp Ireland, and a work for pedal harp, organ and cello for the Pipeworks Organ Festival. Her works have been performed by the BBC Concert Orchestra, the BBC Singers, the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, and numerous other international performers.