Rebecca Ranson, Artist Development Projects Manager, London Symphony Orchestra, April 2022“I recently engaged Helena to perform in a concert as part of the London Symphony Orchestra Free Friday Lunchtime Concert series at LSO St Luke’s. Helena was extremely professional and a joy to work with, from initial conversations, throughout the planning process, and on the day of the concert. The performance was livestreamed and involved being interviewed by the concert presenter, and Helena embraced all these additional elements. I had not worked with Helena before but I wouldn’t hesitate to employ her again.”
Julia Raga Pascual, Clarinettist, London Symphony Orchestra Orchestral Artistry MMus“Helena isn’t playing the harp, she IS the harp!”
for Ravel Introduction & Allegro at Wigmore Hall, May 2019
Chairman Chris Steward, U3A Woodford Memorial Hall, April 2022Helena gave a recital for 200 members of our U3A branch at Woodford, north London, which was rapturously received. Members comments ranged from:
‘the best virtuoso performance I’ve heard’
‘a magical musical experience’
‘not just a recital but a masterclass’
‘I had no idea anyone could play the harp like that’
‘I’ve been coming here every month for six years and have never heard applause like that before’
‘Helena has a lovely, warm and bubbly personality which she conveyed to our members so that they were “with her” all the way. Thank you for the music, it was a masterclass.’
We will be asking her to come back very soon.
Sioned Williams, Former Principal Harpist BBC Symphony Orchestra“Helena is an extremely well prepared and motivated harpist who has already made huge strides into her own creative world. Her musical language is innovative and multifaceted. The technique involved in her performances is advanced, and she prepares thoroughly for each performance. She pays attention to the individual needs of each piece, whatever period it may be from, and has an engaging style and individuality on stage. Helena’s playing is assured enough to lend itself to further exploration of the harp’s extensive possibilities, and she will no doubt create new sounds too, and combine playing the harp with her other artistic interests and abilities.”
Hon.FTCL; FRAM; FWCMD; FISM; Dip.RAM; LRAM; LWCMD.
Honorary Research Fellow RAM
Emeritus Fellow of Harp Studies, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance
President, United Kingdom Harp Association
Andrew Golds, Chairman of the Waltham Forest Music Society, October 2022“The WALTHAM FOREST MUSIC SOCIETY had the great pleasure of meeting Concert Harpist HELENA RICCI on Friday last. Helena is a wonderful musician. She performed a richly varied music programme including works ranging from JS Bach, Smetana, Debussy and Albeniz through to Henry Mancini, Philip Glass and finishing with a lively piece by Pearl Chertok. Helena is a complete master of her instrument and she talked most engagingly about the music itself along with the technical aspects of playing the harp. She gave us a fascinating evening and we look forward to meeting Helena Ricci again in the future.”
Andrew Gaitskell, All Saints Church, October 2022“Helena is both an accomplished player and a great communicator about her beloved Harp. Her repertoire is eclectic and accessible. She used lockdown to learn some wonderful meditative pieces. I hope more people discover the pleasure of listening to Helena play.”
Richard Wintour, Patron of Wigmore Hall and Leeds International Piano Competition“I first came across Helena when I attended her solo harp recital at St James’s Church Piccadilly in October 2019. The programme included Henriette Renié’s Ballade fantastique, and transcriptions of pieces by a number of composers including Prokofiev, Scarlatti and Bach. This was a remarkable performance and I realised that here was an exceptionally talented musician, someone who was able to project her instrument into a very large space, combining technical virtuosity with passion and originality. I also admired the way she had chosen to pioneer new transcriptions to share with her audience and in a way that was exciting, illuminating, and highly intelligent.
Following this performance, I asked Helena to let me know about any future recitals, and I was therefore delighted to join her at another solo recital at St Martin in the Fields in February 2020. This programme also included a number of transcriptions, including Tárrega’s Recuerdos de la Alhambra and Albéniz’s Asturias. Again ,this was a really memorable performance, with Helena’s warm and vibrant personality filling the space in a way that was entirely captivating, and with the instrument being expanded to its limits.
I should add that, at both recitals, Helena introduced each piece prior to performing. She spoke with warmth, intelligence and humour in a way that so clearly illustrated her passion for the harp and her determination to promote the solo instrument to a much wider audience.
I am a Patron of the Wigmore Hall and also a Patron of the Leeds International Piano Competition, and I have always been keen to support and indeed follow young musicians at the start of their professional careers. Over the years I have seen many hugely gifted young musicians perform, particularly at the Wigmore Hall, and I believe that Helena has the potential to join this very special group and become one of the leading harpists of her generation.”
Solo harp recital at St Martin-in-the-Fields in February 2020
Imogen Barford, Head of Harp at Guildhall School of Music & Drama“I invited Helena to give a harp recital for my Ibacus International Harp Course in 2018, and I was thrilled with every aspect of engaging her.
She is a wonderful player with a virtuosic technique and deep feeling for the music she plays. Her playing is confident and communicative, imaginative, insightful and full of character. Her understanding of music, both compositionally and emotionally, is profound, and she is an excellent communicator, with much experience talking to diverse audiences and taking great care to engage them. Her passion and curiosity shine through all her work. In addition, Helena is thoroughly professional in every way, both efficient and delightful to have around. I am happy to recommend her without reservation.”
World Travel Market 2021, London ExCel Centre“We hired Helena to play at a corporate event. She proved to be very punctual and reliable and played beautifully. Our guests were so taken by her performance. We will definitely think of Helena for our next event. Highly recommended.” Egyptian State Tourist Office
Waltham Forest Music Society, Review by Ian BrownConcert at Highams Park, 14th October 2022
Dan Shorten Creative Director Guildhall Live Events & Kieron Tilley Account Director, Guildhall Live Events (Guildhall School of Music & Drama)“In early 2020 we worked with Helena on a digital based R&D project. Helena was the consummate professional and a joy to work with. Not only is Helena a formidably talented musician and creative, she gelled with the team from the outset and was an absolute pleasure to work with from start to finish. We very much look forward to working with her in the future.”
Jon Hare, Production Manager, Pitspro productions“Helena was an absolute pleasure to work with on a devised, experimental and complex show for Guildhall School of Music and Drama. She brought such enthusiasm to the rehearsal room, was extremely adaptable, and her harp playing was outstanding – bringing a sense of calm and awe to both crew and audience.”
“Sensory Symphony”, in partnership with Broadgate and Guildhall Live Events in March 2020
Rafael Marino Arcaro, Composer, PHD student @ King’s College London“I booked Helena Ricci to play the harp for the studio recording of my 35-minute Concerto Apinayé for guitar & orchestra at St. Mark’s Church in Marylebone, 5th October, 2019 with the Audentia Ensemble conducted by Ryan Bair. The piece has a substantial and rhythmically challenging harp part. Helena played during the 6 hours of recording with no mistakes whatsoever, not only that, but she performed her part expressively with an on point musical intuition, and perfect sight reading. Helena was also the first one to show up for the recording, she was friendly and keen during the whole process. The next time I need a harpist, Helena Ricci will be the first one I’ll call.”
for the recording of his Concerto Apinayé for guitar & orchestra at St. Mark’s Church in Marylebone, 5th October, 2019
Dr Sylvia Lim, Composer 2019/20 London Philharmonic Orchestra Young Composers & 2020/21 Royal Philharmonic Society Composers Programme“I worked with Helena Ricci on a new piece for the Curious Festival in 2017. She was incredibly helpful during the collaborative process – she was sensitive to my ideas, listened well and was very open to experimenting with sounds on her instrument. She was easy to work with, well organised, and on time. She was quick to respond to any feedback, and was a reliable performer during the whole process.”
for Curious Festival 2017, Barbican Exhibition Hall 2
Josh Garner, Producer, videographer, founder of Inonpro“Helena is a delight to work with, her positivity really added something special to our production. Her willingness to get stuck in and experiment blew us all away and overall pushed our show to new heights.”
for “Sensory Symphony”, in partnership with Broadgate and Guildhall Live Events in March 2020
Dimitrios Rontsis, Composer“I booked Helena to participate in one of my works at the Drawing Room in November 2018. Her extraordinary musical gift, impeccable work ethic and wonderful character resulted in a profoundly rewarding, meaningful and memorable experience. I most highly recommend her!”
for a concert at the Drawing Room, London in November 2018
Laura Shipsey, Composer“Helena is a vibrant, dedicated musician and a captivating performer. I worked closely with her on the development of a new work and benefited hugely from her extensive technical knowledge, patience, and boundless enthusiasm for music!”
for the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme 2019/20
Thomas Fournil, Composer and PHD student at Guildhall School“I was really impressed by Helena. We recorded complex music on modern, celtic and gothic harps, with click track. She’s serious, talented, kind, humble, honest: her musical and human skills are very precious. Helena is exactly the kind of person you want to have around, and share your artistic path with.”
for a recording of la Harpe d’Harmonie in June 2019
Euchar Gravina, Composer, Artistic Director of the Waterloo Festival“I’ve been working with Helena as part of the Britten Pears Young Artist Programme (2019/2020). Not only is she a wonderful performer and a joy to work with but also a passionate musician who took a great deal of interest in the music I was writing for her. It was particularly splendid of Helena to help me work around different tunings which, despite the huge amount of patience required for such a task, she guided me through with huge enthusiasm!”
Iona McTaggart, Community Engagement Manager“Helena recently worked with us on a social distancing project in collaboration with Age UK, playing music over the phone to a client living with dementia. She made sure to tailor an eclectic mix of songs that the client had requested, expertly transposing these to harp. During the call, Helena built an instant rapport with the client, going above and beyond to make sure they were comfortable and settled before proceeding to play beautifully. Helena is not only a fantastic harpist but is also punctual, reliable and a brilliant communicator and I look forward to working with her again in the future.”
for Music Bank Age UK Camden Befriending Call July 2020
Veronika Leiner, Head of the Tuning In! Programme 2019/20 in Partnership with MDW Vienna and Creative Europe“Helena is as energetic and ambitious as a person as she is as a musician. Listening to her play Tarrega and Godefroid at the Tuning In! final presentations night confirmed what we had experienced all through the training programme: always smiling and light hearted, she never betrays her strong commitment to quality and accuracy.”
for the final concert at Erbsenfabrik Brick 5, Wien in February 2020