Sylvia Crawford was born in Portadown, Co. Armagh. Her background combines both classical and traditional music. From an early age she learned to play the piano and violin. After graduating in music and ethnomusicology from Queen’s University Belfast, she moved to Galway, where she spent many years, teaching piano and developing her interest in the fiddle and Irish traditional music. In Galway, she was actively involved in the early music scene. This interest in both early music and Irish traditional music led her to seek out an old Irish harp, with metal strings. Sylvia also lived and taught music in Brittany for a period, but in 2013 she returned to her home county of Armagh, where she still lives.
Teaching is Sylvia’s greatest passion, and she continues to teach harp, fiddle and piano. But it is the old Irish harp which really captures her imagination. Since returning to Armagh, Sylvia has been researching the life and music of Patrick Quin, an eighteenth-century harper from Co. Armagh. She was recently awarded a Master’s degree from Dublin City University for her research. Sylvia is currently writing a tutor book for the old Irish harp, and has reconstructed a method of playing, based on her research.
Sylvia teaches annually at Scoil na gCláirseach. She is also financial manager of The Historical Harp Society of Ireland. She has presented many talks and workshops on the old Irish harp, and has performed in Ireland, the UK and France. In recent years, she has collaborated and performed with Irish singer, Pádraigín Ní Uallacháin. Sylvia’s harp music and research features on Pádraigín’s 2017 online project, Oriel Arts.