About Helen

A warm, natural and communicative presence on the podium British conductor Helen Harrison inspires exciting and compelling performances from the artists she collaborates with from orchestras, opera companies and choirs.

Highlights of the 2021/22 season include engagements with Sinfonia Viva, 'Amahl and the Night Visitors' with Northern Opera Group and Wagner's Liebestod with Jane Irwin.

Helen is the Music Director and Conductor of the award winning Blackpool Symphony Orchestra, Preston Opera, Lytham St. Annes Choral Society and the Lancashire Youth Symphony Orchestra.  She works regularly with ensembles including Leeds Conservatoire (including a Side By Side with the Orchestra of Opera North), Northern Opera Group, Outreach Opera, Wilmslow Symphony Orchestra and Salford Choral Society.

Helen read Music at Cambridge University and studied Conducting at the Royal Northern College of Music.  She is coached and mentored by Jessica Cottis.   


Helen has recently returned from conducting in the Royal Opera House Women Conductors' International Masterclass held in July 2021 conducting the City of London Sinfonia.   In June 2021 she was invited by the Royal Philharmonic Society to work with the Royal Northern Sinfonia as one of four emerging conductors in a project to advance gender equality on the podium.   James Murphy, CEO of the Royal Philharmonic Society commented, "We invite artist managers and colleagues who hire conductors to follow those participating."

Selected for the inaugural Women Conductors Course in September 2018 run by the  Royal Opera House, the Royal Philharmonic Society and the National Opera Studio Helen has subsequently taken part in a range of courses run by the Royal Opera House including  'Lockdown/SkillUp' sessions in June 2020 working with Sian Edwards, Alice Farnham and Jessica Cottis.

She has also conducted in International Masterclasses held at the RNCM with Mark Heron, Clark Rundell, Nicolas Pasquet, Gergeley Madaras, Matthew Wood and Morten Wensberg.


A passionate believer in the power of classical music to change lives, Helen is a board member for Orchestras Live and chairs the Finance Committee.  Orchestras Live believe orchestras are for everyone and that live orchestral music has the power to inspire people for a lifetime.  Working across England, Orchestras Live connect communities with world class orchestral experiences delivered by renowned professional orchestras.

A qualified accountant, Helen brings a wealth of leadership, strategic and financial management expertise from her experience working in senior management roles in the corporate sector prior to pursuing her vocation as a conductor.  She also brings insight from the not for profit sector most recently as Chair of Lancashire Mind working to support positive mental health and wellbeing across Lancashire.

Helen is also a regular podcast contributor to Operacast covering the latest opera news, reviews and general chat from the opera world.   She appeared on a panel for the Royal Philharmonic Society exploring the impact of the pandemic on the lives and work of classical musicians.