Listen to:
Debussy: Sonata - Finale (4'50)
Ileana Ruhemann, flute
Imogen Barford , harp
Roger Tapping, viola
Imogen Barford

IMOGEN BARFORD, MA(Cantab.), DipRAM, ARAM, LRAM, MSTAT, is currently Head of Harp at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London, and her busy freelance career has covered an extremely wide range of activities.

Solo appearances include concertos at the South Bank, Wigmore Hall, and the Aldeburgh Festival, and in Edinburgh and Glasgow with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. She has given numerous solo recitals in the UK for the National Federation of Music Societies and the Aldeburgh Showcase series, and had solo invitations to the World Harp Congresses in the Netherlands and Israel. At the start of her career, she won many recitals through the Maisie Lewis Young Artists’ Fund, the NFMS Award, the Westmorland Concerts, and Live Music Now. Imogen has given hundreds of chamber music concerts with her own group JEUX, including recitals at the South Bank, festival appearances and Arts Council network tours. She made many London appearances at the South Bank, Wigmore Hall, and King’s Place, as a chamber musician with Endymion, the BBC Singers, and others, and she toured extensively as a chamber musician in Europe, the USA and Canada.


Includes work with all the major London symphony orchestras (the Philharmonia, Royal Philharmonic, London Symphony, BBC Symphony, London Philharmonic, BBC Concert Orchestra) in concerts, broadcasts, recordings and foreign tours. She has also worked with chamber orchestras (English Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra of St John’s Smith Square, Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Northern Sinfonia) as well as opera (including English National Opera, Glyndebourne Touring Opera, Welsh National Opera, and Garsington Opera), ballet (including English National Ballet, Scottish Ballet and Ballet Rambert) and film work. Recently she has enjoyed touring in Germany, Spain, France, Luxembourg and Austria with the London Symphony Orchestra, including the highlight of Bernard Haitink’s 50th Anniversary Proms appearance.

Imogen’s commitment to contemporary music includes numerous first performances, including works by Edward Cowie, Giles Swayne, and David Sawer; work with groups such as Endymion Ensemble and Lontano in the UK and abroad; new music workshops and commissioning awards, most recently a PRS award. Imogen is currently commissioning a series of new works for harp by eminent British composers, starting with Simon Holt (2014), Robert Saxton (2015), Julian Phillips (2016) and Mark Anthony Turnage (2019).

Experience includes solo playing on BBC TV and Radio 3, chamber music with her own group JEUX for BBC Radio 3, and ensemble playing on Classic FM, as well as incidental music for Radio and TV. Imogen has appeared on Italian and Israeli TV, National Public Radio in the USA, and Radio France.

Work on Baroque double harp and medieval/renaissance harps with: English National Opera, Gothic Voices, Taverner Consort, New London Consort, and the City of London Baroque Sinfonia, including concerts, recordings, and foreign tours. Work on early pedal harp with the English Concert.

Imogen read Music at Cambridge University and studied the harp with Renata Scheffel-Stein (a pupil of Marcel Tournier in Paris). She continued her studies at the Royal Academy of Music where she won the coveted recital diploma. She won numerous prizes and scholarships for her solo playing, including the International Music Service Prize at the International Harp Competition on the Isle of Man.

From 1991-2005 she taught at Trinity College of Music, London, latterly as Head of Harp, and in 2005 she became Head of Harp at the Guildhall School. Imogen has given masterclasses and workshops at the Szymanowski Academy in Poland, at the Espace Camac in Paris, LUCA School of Arts in Belgium, the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo, at the Wales International Harp Festival, and for the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, the Royal College of Music, the Birmingham Conservatoire, Wells Cathedral School and The Purcell School for Young Musicians

In 1994 she was made an honorary associate of the Royal Academy of Music 'for distinguished service to the music profession'.

Imogen is much in demand as an examiner and adjudicator: she has sat on panels for the BBC Young Musician of the Year Competition and the Royal Over-Seas League Competition; examined for the Royal Academy of Music, Royal College of Music, The Hague Royal Conservatoire, The Norwegian Academy of Music, Haute Ecole de Musique Geneva, Royal Welsh College of Music, Birmingham Conservatoire, and The Purcell School; been on the audition team for the National Youth Orchestra and the Schleswig Holstein Summer Academy, and adjudicated numerous Music Festivals.

Imogen is Co-Director of the Ibacus International Harp Course, and in 2013 she graduated as a fully-qualified teacher of the Alexander Technique, and in 2018 she was awarded Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy.