Tanya Houghton

Originally from Birmingham, Tanya studied in Cambridge, London and Paris before embarking on a freelance career based in the UK and Ireland. A harpist, singer, musical director, teacher and examiner she enjoys a diverse schedule with an unending variety of engagements and experiences.

With her harp she enjoys playing for a wide range of ensembles from symphony orchestras to chamber groups, and accompanying soloists and choirs. She has developed a specialism in playing as an accompanist for singers and choirs and in 2013 made her Wigmore Hall debut accompanying Nicholas Mulroy in Britten's Canticle V as part of the celebratory concert on Britten's 100th birthday. She is lucky to have worked personally with choral composers and conductors including John Rutter, Bob Chilcott, David Hill and Graham Ross. Recently she has enjoyed collaborations with the BBC Singers, in programmes of Britten and Chilcott and in their Bernstein Total Immersion series, broadcast on BBC Radio 3. She appeared live on Radio 3's 'In tune' programme accompanying Clare College Choir, with whom she has released a gramophone-nominated CD "Imogen Holst - Choral works" for Harmonia Mundi. Another recording "A rose in the middle of winter" - a CD of choral music by Bob Chilcott featuring harp accompaniment - reached the top of the classical charts.  

Her recent orchestral harp work includes appearances with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Ulster Orchestra, Northern Ballet and both RTE orchestras in Dublin. She performed regularly as principal harpist for English Touring Opera, and appeared in the Longborough Opera Ring Cycle project. She has had the privilege of working with conductors including Sir Simon Rattle, Sir Mark Elder, Sir Roger Norrington, Vladimir Jurowski and Edward Gardner. She was delighted to perform with a chamber version of the OAE on tour under the direction of violinist Richard Tognetti and with King's College Cambridge under Stephen Cleobury for their Durufle Requiem recording. Last year she was delighted to accompany Sir James and Lady Jeanne Galway in a new arrangement of "The Lord is my shepherd" for 2 flutes and harp on BBC Songs of Praise.

As a singer and conductor, she directs and sings in Melisma, the Belfast-based 8 voice choir, appearing regularly on Radio Ulster and in concert across Northern Ireland. Melisma also recorded the backing vocals to The Priests' album "Alleluia" under her direction and have featured on Songs of Praise. She is an alto lay clerk at St Anne's Cathedral, Belfast where she sings regular services throughout the week and on Sundays. Her conducting skills have been increasingly in demand with the Belfast Bach Consort in their monthly Cantata series, including recent performances of "Ein feste Burg" for the anniversary of the Reformation.

Qualified as a music teacher both in the classroom and for instrumental lessons, she has a growing private teaching practice in Helen's Bay, Northern Ireland. She teaches all ages and abilities, with current pupils studying both pedal and lever harp, piano, theory and music history. She is a keen participant in orchestral education and outreach projects, and has enjoyed a close relationship with Aurora Orchestra's Learning and Participation department. With flautist Jane Mitchell she worked for Live Music Now!, giving concerts across a huge range of community venues.

Tanya works as an examiner for the ABRSM, has been external examiner at the Royal Northern College of Music and Birmingham Conservatoire and was, for five years, the editor of harp, the magazine of the UK Harp Association. She is also increasingly in demand as an adjudicator, having appeared recently in the Bromley, Reigate & Redhill and Bristol Festival harp classes.