Danielle Perrett is renowned both as a soloist and as a chamber music player. Something of a prodigy, she gained diplomas in harp playing whilst still at school and the Royal College of Music Junior Department just five years after taking up the instrument which she studied with Daphne Boden and later Renata Scheffel-Stein (while studying for her BA in Music at Exeter University). She can trace the lineage of her harpist tuition back to several of the great virtuoso harpist-composers of the 19th century.
Danielle has received several awards from the Arts Council of Great Britain, the Royal Overseas League Harp Prize and has the distinction of being the first person at Goldsmiths’ College, London University to gain a Master’s Degree in Music Performance and Related Studies. In the course of those studies she chose to have lessons with pianists Melvyn Tan and Susan Bradshaw whose guidance has proved to be invaluable in her performances of 18th and early 19th century and of 20th century harp music respectively.
Danielle made her debut recital at the Purcell Room in 1983, since when she has regularly appeared as a soloist and in chamber music at all the major London venues, festivals and music clubs throughout this country and also in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, the USA, Canada, Africa, Russia and the Far East. Many new compositions have been written for her and she has premiered many new works by composers such as Geoffrey Burgon, Keith Burstein, Roger Steptoe, David Snell, Elis Pehkonen, Gary Higginson, and her husband – David Gough.
Danielle has contributed to scholarly research of her instrument and its repertoire, and her period instruments: two single-action pedal harps of circa 1800 and an Erard Gothic harp of 1841 have given her practical insights into the Classical and Romantic harp repertoire which she is rediscovering, editing and performing. Amongst her most important work has been her rediscovery of works for harp and horn dating from the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries in pursuit of which Danielle, with her horn player associate, Gillian Jones, has scoured libraries across Europe and the USA.
Various arrangements, compositions, articles, reviews and editions by Danielle have been published, perhaps most notable amongst which was her bringing to light of Herbert Howells’ Prelude for Harp of 1915, of which she gave the public premiere and edited for publication by Stainer & Bell.
In 1993 she released her first CD (on the Meridian label) entitled Dussek and the Harp which received outstanding reviews and her subsequent CDs on both period and modern harps including Edmund Rubbra – The Complete Chamber Music & Songs with Harp (on the ASV label) and The Firebird’s Feather – Russian Romantic Harp Music (on the Beartramka label) have also received great critical acclaim.
TV, Film, Stage & Radio
Danielle has been featured a great deal on all the major national television and radio stations and international TV and radio (including an interview in French). In addition to the frequent broadcasts of her recordings, Danielle’s many radio programme appearances include Start the Week, Kaleidoscope, The Today Programme, Woman’s Hour, Outlook, and special programmes on BBC World Service and on the Dusseks on Radio 4 with the Dussek Piano Trio. She has also been a special guest and performed live on Classic FM.
Danielle can be seen playing her single-action harp in the BBC film of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, whilst the Austen connection continued with her partnership with the renowned actress Geraldine McEwan, (1995’s Evening Standard Actress of the Year, and more recently seen on TV as Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple), in a touring programme of Jane Austen in which Danielle played appropriate music from the period on her single-action harp. A recording of this was released in 1995 on the Hodder Headlines audio label.
Danielle also appeared (again with her single-action harp) in Simon Schama’s 2007 BBC docu-drama Rough Crossings.
Danielle is a distinguished teacher and her experience includes Head of the Harp Dept. at the London College of Music, twenty five years teaching musicianship and harp at the Royal College of Music Junior Department, teaching music history and analysis to foundation students at Goldsmiths’ College, London University and teaching for Luleia University in Sweden. She works together with students and their teachers around the world giving workshops, masterclasses and talks at events including World Harp Congresses in Prague, Geneva and Dublin, the Edinburgh International Harp Festival, Mini-Harp Festival London (which she organised) and the European Harp Symposium in Lyon.
Her friendly nature and thorough but constructive help to young harpists make her a popular adjudicator – including for international competitions and for all instruments and voice, not just for the harp. She has taught and given lecture recitals in French and Italian (both languages in which she is fluent).
Danielle has the Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy, and Associate Teacher status from SEDA. She studied Alexander Technique for many years and her interest in good posture and healthy performance practice led to becoming a qualified Pilates teacher, having trained at the Pilates Institute in London, and she also has accreditation in teaching freestyle fitness yoga. She teaches Pilates for musicians and harpists around the world.
An experienced former examiner for Trinity College London, Danielle has devised the harp syllabuses, introducing an unprecedented syllabus for non-pedal harp from Initial Grade to Performer’s Certificate. As a result of this Trinity has published a book called Technical Development for Harpists produced by Danielle with assistance from her colleague Dr. Mike Parker. Her examining has taken her to Australia, Belgium, China & Hong Kong, France, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Thailand, and the UAE. In 2014, Danielle received the Chariman’s Award for services to Trinity College, London.
Danielle’s interest in Charity started in her early 20s when she sponsored a child in India. Danielle’s innovative work for charity has included staging numerous ‘Harpathons’ and harp events. Through Harpathons she organised working together with blind people, children with cerebral palsy, people with spina-bifida and people with learning difficulties. She has worked a great deal for education and outreach programmes through the London Mozart Players and the Hanover Band for example. Danielle has also given concerts in aid of several local charities, including the Suffolk Accident Rescue Service (SARS) and for local churches. For several years, she has adjudicated music entries in the Koestler Trust competition for Arts in Prison.
Concerto performances include Mozart‘s Flute and harp Concerto at the Wigmore Hall and in Brighton with period instrument flautist, Rachel Brown and the Hanover Band, the same concerto on other occasions with flautist Karin Leitner at the Musikverein, Vienna with the Vienna Mozart Orchestra and again with Karin Leitner at the Primatial Palace in Bratislava with the Cappella Istrapolitana. She has also performed the same work with flautist Timothy Kipling at the Palace of Versailles and with Helen Tudor at the National Centre for Performing Arts in Mumbai. Danielle has also played many other concertos and has given a large number of recitals, both solo and with other performers, at many well-known venues in the UK and around the world, including the South Bank Centre, Barbican, Wigmore Hall and St. John’s Smith Square in London, the National Centre for Performing Arts in Mumbai and Kioi Hall in Tokyo.
Danielle and her husband have published a number of CDs and harp books through their company Beartramka. Publications include Lift Off! for all harps at elementary level (which she co-composed with her husband), Lever Harp World and Pedal Harp World at intermediate level, and an innovative volume of new advanced pieces for lever harp called Lever Harp 2000 including some of Danielle’s original compositions. The latter three books also contain numerous compositions commissioned from other composers. The CDs released so far include a recording of Naderman’s Sept Sonates Progressives, The Firebird’s Feather, a recording of Russian Romantic solo Harp music and Castle Music, a CD of Flute and Harp music performed with Austrian flautist Karin Leitner.
Danielle has been the Warden of the Composers and Performers section and a Council Member, of the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM), the UK correspondent of the World Harp Congress Review, and the Convener of the London and South-East branch of the Clarsach (small harp) Society. She holds the livery of the Worshipful Company of Musicians, for whom she is on the Professional Musicians Advisory Panel.