Sylvain Blassel

Hoofdvakdocent harp (afdeling Klassieke Muziek)

French harpist Sylvain Blassel graduated from the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Lyon where he studied with Fabrice Pierre. Harpist and conductor at the same time, he immediately starts as assistant conductor with the Ensemble InterContemporain where he stays two years and where his meetings with conductors such as Pierre Boulez, György Kurtag, György Ligeti, Brian Ferneyhough, or Helmut Lachenmann have been decisive for him.

Fond of orchestra, he has played under the baton of conductors such as Claudio Abbado, Sir Simon Rattle, Gustavo Dudamel, Alan Gilbert, Vladimir Jurowski, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Emmanuel Krivine, Marek Janowski, etc. Fascinated by ancient harps, he often plays with period instruments’orchestras.

Willing to expand his repertoire, Sylvain Blassel has become a specialist in transcribing or adapting a heritage spanning a period going from Guillaume de Machaut until today’s music.

Starting from the premise that the piano often requires a much higher dexterity than the harp, he has been working on developing a technic that enables him first to address pieces amongst the most dreaded by pianists (Liszt’s Campanella, Hungarian Rhapsodies…) but above all, the major masterpieces of the repertoire including the J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations and Beethoven’s last sonatas.

Passionate about organology and period instruments, he selects carefully the harp according to the piece he plays.

Sylvain Blassel taught the harp at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Lyon, along with Fabrice Pierre and Park Stickney. He also taught conducting at the Conservatoire de Rennes, Brittany, after having teached analysis there during fifteen years. He gives regularly master classes all over the world: London, New York, Tokyo, Toronto, Honk Kong, Hamburg, Madrid, Praha, Chicago, Seoul, Beijing, Shanghai, Taipei…

He was jury member at the 20th Harp Contest in Israel and the 11th USA International Harp Competition in Bloomington.