About Janice Ortega 


  • Master of Music (Harp Performance) from Indiana University.

Janice studied on scholarship with Susann McDonald, Professor Emeritus at Indiana University, Bloomington improvisational jazz harp, pedagogy, advanced theory and ear training, open score reading, keyboard facility, and figured bass reading. The American Harp Journal, Winter 2017, wrote: "Susann McDonald is one of the great harpists and harp teachers in the world.”


  • Artist Diploma (Harp Performance), Royal Conservatory of the Netherlands.

Janice studied with Phia Berghout, Principal Harpist with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, in Amsterdam. The Independent newspaper of the UK, Saturday 27 March 1993 01:02, described Phia Berghout in an obituary as “arguably the most influential harpist this century.” Janice was awarded scholarships for her study including a partial Fulbright.

  • Harp Performance, with Nancy Allen, Aspen Music School  on a multi-year scholarship.


Nancy Allen is Principal Harp with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra and Professor of Harp at The Juilliard School.

  • Bachelor of Arts, Magna Cum Laude, Music (Harp), California State University East Bay.

principal study of Harp with Wenonah Govea, California State University East Bay.

Performance Highlights

Janice played harp for many European orchestras, beginning with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Amsterdam under the direction of legendary Russian émigré conductor, Kiril Kondrashin.

Janice performed with symphony orchestras throughout Europe and the United States including orchestras in Belgium;  the Limburg Symphony Orchestra, the Netherlands; the Van Karajan Festival Orchestra, Berlin, festival orchestras in Tanglewood and Aspen, the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra, the San Jose Civic Light Opera, Marin Symphony, Oakland Symphony, and the San Francisco Symphony: Alternate Harp.

American Harp Society Journal covering National Conference in San Francisco 2005

Performance Venues:

San Francisco Bay Area

  • Skywalker Ranch

  • Third Baptist Church San         Francisco

  • St. Francis Hotel

  • Ritz Carlton

  • Fairmont

  • Mark Hopkins

  • Sheraton Palace

  • Legion of Honor

  • DeYoung Museum

  • Palace of Fine Arts

  • Mission Dolores

  • San  Francisco City Hall Rotunda

  • San Francisco City Club

  • City of Palo Alto Gamble Garden Foundation

  • Cole Mansion

  • Ralston Hall 

  • Thomas Fogarty Winery

  • Symphony Orchestras of Berkeley, Oakland, and San Jose

  • the Peninsula Civic Light Opera

  • the San Jose Civic Light Opera

  • Stanford University Lively Arts Chamber Recital

  • wineries in Napa and Sonoma counties

  • Bay Area golf and country clubs.

American Harp Society, Bay Area Chapter

As co-president of the American Harp Society Bay Area Chapter, Janice organized the National Harp Conference and the National Harp Competition in San Francisco  The Chapter also sponsored a Northern California Harp Competition for exceptional students. The energy, enthusiasm and care shown by the Bay Area harp community for the young contenders is shown in these behind-the-scenes photos from the Harp Competitions:

Offering reassurance
Offering reassurance

Janice Ortega reassures a student, sharing her perspective on competitions that she faced as a young harpist

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student arrival & check-in
student arrival & check-in

Janice Ortega and members of the harp community welcome a student to the AHS-sponsored competition

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student arrival & check-in
student arrival & check-in

Janice Ortega and harpist colleagues reassure the student

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Janice served for many years as President of the California State University East Bay Hayward Chapter of the American Harp Society. Janice is currently active as alumnus advisor for the California State University Chapter of Mu Phi Epsilon music fraternity.

Janice was recently invited to perform for the Bay Area Chapter's Summer 2020 Harp “Lunch Break”. The theme of her performance, “Making Your Own Harp Arrangement”, inspired a series of videos that Janice created on advanced harp performance topics published on YouTube and on the Chapter’s Facebook page.