The go-to guide for early music



Joy Smith

Harp, Keyboard, Percussion
Joy Smith


Early Harps

'So improvisatory and spontaneous. Very very exciting.’

BBC Radio 3

Born in Cornwall, Joy first met a harp when she was 6 yrs old. When, at the age of 8, she inherited that very same instrument, it felt as if the harp had chosen her rather than the other way round. That very first chance meeting led her to travel the world with seven different harps and become an explorer of music and sound of all kinds. She is renowned for her thorough and exciting approach, creating programmes and performing music in the style and on the instruments they were intended for, from medieval to 21st century.

Her eclectic taste in music has led her to play in an unusual array of venues from the Royal Albert Hall to the Glastonbury Festival and with groups such as I Fagiolini, The Gabrieli Consort, The Sixteen, the Rednote Ensemble and the New London Consort; the orchestra of the Royal Opera House, The OAE, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Opera North; the Radio Science Orchestra, David Gray, Sophie Ellis Bextor, Paul Hartnoll and The Joy Formidable. She has performed as a soloist at the Bayerische Staatsoper, Teatro Real Madrid and Glyndebourne Opera and she is professor of Early Harps at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Joy is a storyteller, composer and percussionist. She enjoys learning the historically informed rules and then deciding when to break them.