‘An artist in the true sense of the word’, concert harpist Richard Allen is currently studying with Letizia Belmondo at the Haute École de Musique de Lausanne (Switzerland), having previously studied with Gabriella Dall’Olio and early harp specialist Frances Kelly as a Trinity College London scholar at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance, London, graduating with Distinction in 2016.
Richard was bornin 1993 in Belfast, Northern Ireland where he also studied clarinet, piano, and traditional Irish harp.In 2017 Richard won the 2nd Prize and the Prix Communauté de Wallonie at the Félix Godefroid International Harp Contest in Belgium. He also won the First Prize at the prestigious Camac Harp Competition 2016 – North London Festival; the largest of its kind in the United Kingdom, and was also awarded the BBC Young Musicians’ Platform Award 2016, playing Glière’s Harp Concerto Op.74 with the Ulster Orchestra and David Brophy. His playing is often noted for its remarkable palette of shades and colours and a depth of expression that is rarely heard on the instrument. Richard is a passionate solo artist and regularly performs solo recitals in the UK, Ireland, and abroad.
He played in St. Martin-in-the-Fields to great acclaim having won the Trinity Laban John Marson Prize, and his performance in the Teatro dell Residenza in Monza (Italy) was described as ‘an incarnation’. Upcoming performances include live broadcast recordings, recitals, and opera productions throughout the UK and Europe. He has been one of the lucky few to have taken masterclasses with some of the world’s leading harpists including Marie-Pierre Langlamet, (Berliner Philharmoniker), Fabrice Pierre and Sylvain Blassel (CNSM Lyon), and Germaine Lorenzini (Orchestre National de Lyon).
Richard has a great love of orchestral repertoire and is the proud and lucky winner of the Philharmonia Orchestra MMSF Harp Fellowship 2017-18. Being particularly fond of opera and ballet, Richard has recently played Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, and Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker in the UK, Switzerland, and Scandinavia with orchestras such as the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Opéra de Baugé, and the Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne. He has been invited to play in venues such as the Royal Albert Hall, Cadogan Hall, St. John’s Smith Square, the Ulster Hall, and the Opéra de Lausanne to name a few. He was principal harp of the Ulster Youth Orchestra and City of Belfast Youth Orchestra and in 2014 he was accepted as a reserve player by the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester. He has since played with orchestras such as NI Opera, the Ulster Orchestra, and the Société de Musique Contemporaine Lausanne.
Richard is a Philharmonia Emerging Artist and Harp Fellow (MMSF) and is generously supported by the Royal Philharmonic Society, the Countess of Munster Musical Trust, and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.