Isabelle Olivier – Harpist, composer, educator, and artistic director at Metamorphose


Harpist and Composer

Isabelle Olivier is a jazzwoman and harpist with a strong musical personality. She brings a wave of freshness and novelty to the international artistic world with her surprising and unique instrument. She managed to develop a very distinctive style with her fascinating and rare instrument. Isabelle has composed, arranged and recorded ten records and a DVD.

She is a composer dealing with serveral genres : jazz, Celtic and contemporary music. She also had the opportunity to share her musical expertise in the cinema and performing arts fields. She composed the soundtracks of five movies :

Les Glaneurs et les Glaneuses by Agnès Varda (2000)
2 ans après by Agnès Varda (2002)
Ydessa, les ours et etc... by Agnès Varda (2004)
L’Esquive by Abdellatif Kechiche (2004)
Les 3 boutons by Agnès Varda (2015)
And that of several plays, among which :
• Quatre à quatre (1998) by Michel Garneau, staged by Michel Bruzat
• Merci pour elle (2003) by Emilie Valantin

Isabelle Olivier went to 25 countries to present her musical creations. Eight years ago, she started developing a Franco-American project and created the jazz opera Don’t worry, be haRpy in this context. It’s a free adaptation of the novel Le Baron Perché by Italo Calvino, with American singers and French musicians. She now wants to pursue a project on both sides of the Atlantic with musicians, dancers, plasticians, poets and actors. In 2017, the Art Institute of Chicago asked her to compose a one hour-long show linked with the exhibition Gauguin : Artist as Alchemist (July 2017).

She won the Prix de la Villa Le Nôtre of Versailles in 2015 and was the first composer to benefit from a residency at the Potager du Roi. She is currently the worldwide ambassador of the new electro-acoustic harp Salvi ‘Rainbow.’

She was lucky enough to work with outstanding people such as Peter Erskine, Didier Lockwood, Ernie Adams, Mitch Haupers, Paul Wertico, in the musical field as well as in other disciplines. They have enabled her to build a wonderful artistic path as a musician, and to realise the potential of orchestral alchemy and interdisciplinary encounters.

Since 2018, she is a composer associated with the Théâtre de Guyancourt : this residency is supported by the French Ministry of Culture and the SACEM. She has created seven shows and is going to continue her creative and diffusion work, as well as her cultural actions there for two years. Isabelle has also released her tenth album in 2019 : a co-project with the guitarist Rez Abbasi, supported by the FACE foundation, the ADAMI and the SPEDIDAM.

In 2020, she won the call for project « Les Habitants ont du talent », in partnership with the Fédération des Centres Sociaux of Essonne. This inclusive and federative artistic project revolves around the theme of ‘smile.’ It will involve volunteers who will be invited to sing in their mother tongues, and will be pre- sented in May 2021. Isabelle Olivier wants to promote music as means of passing things on, by putting forward different ethnic groups.