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

Duplicate of "My Foolish Harp" - review by

View original publication

As artistic director of the Métamorphose arts company, Isabelle Olivier keeps exploring the harp in a new fashion, offering a unique blend of jazz, classical, contemporary as well as traditional music. Her bold approach is characterized by permanent risk-taking and a strong desire to collaborate with musicians and artists proceeding from various backgrounds like theater, dance, circus, etc. 

Her performances -a genuine imaginary world which she shares with her audience- come across as a poetic journey, bolstered up by the solar power of her rhythms. Trained classically (she studied with Pierre Jamet, the undisputed master of the French harp school who collaborated with Debussy, Ravel and many composers of the XXth century), Isabelle Olivier soon started composing and improvising owing to close ties with the jazz world. 

While seeking relentlessly to achieve the balance between these two idoms, Isabelle Olivier then created Océan, a group with which she recorded 3 CD’s. At the same time, she developed various musical projects, particularly a new solo repertoire which earned her a nomination for the Victoires du Jazz in 2006, and a duet performance with Olivier Sens on computer. 

In 2007, she released her first DVD « Harpe(s) » on Nocturne), before creating a new show in a trio setting with Guido Zorn and Joe Quitzke. She then devoted most of her time preparing a series of duos for her next recording to be released in September 2009 on Enja / Harmonia Mundi. This new CD will feature Peter Erskine (drums), Louis Sclavis (bass clarinet), David Venitucci (accordion) and vocalist Youn Sun Nah. 

Isabelle Olivier is a much sought-after composer, mostly due to her open-mindedness and deep artistic originality : she writes for the movie industry (Agnès Varda, Abdelatif Kechiche), for the theater (Compagnie du Fust), as well as contemporary ballet and circus. 

The holder of a professor’s degree, she has taught harp at the Arts School of Marcoussis ( France) since 1993 and has given master classes both here and abroad. 

She has performed in France, Switzerland, Luxemburg, Belgium, England, The Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Poland, Spain, Italy, Tunisia, Mauritania, Senegal, Angola, Réunion, Mauritius, Madagascar, Canada and the USA. 

Isabelle Olivier is the ambassador of « Echo », the new model of Italian harp-maker Salvi, an instrument whose rare potential combines tradition and modernity. Isabelle performs throughout the world exclusively on this instrument.