French harpist Sylvain Blassel graduated in 1998 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 2 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, Kent Nagano, Tugan Sokiev, etc. Fascinated by ancient harps, he often plays with period instruments’orchestras.

Willing to expand his repertoire, Sylain 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 teaches the harp at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Lyon, along with Fabrice Pierre and Park Stickney. He also teaches conducting at the Conservatoire de Rennes, Brittany, after having teached analysis there during fifteen years.

He gives regularly master classes at many music schools all over the world: London, New York, Tokyo, Toronto, Hong Kong, Hamburg, Berlin, Praha, Chicago, Seoul, Beijing, Shanghai…
“Dear Mr. Blassel, I listened to your Goldberg Variations with unexpected pleasure and admiration.
I confess that I had no idea what your instrument is able to offer.
You are such a fine musician whose ear for nuance and feeling for rhythm is remarkable!”

– Alfred Brendel