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Valentin Clastrier / France

He is regarded as one of the most accomplished artists performing contemporary music on a hurdy-gurdy.

Before he burst on the scene, the instrument remained in the realm of mediaeval and folk music. Valentin Clastrier was a pioneer of using it to perform contemporary repertoires. The artist started his musical career as a guitarist in the late 1960s, and he was introduced to the hurdy-gurdy in the early 1970s. Clastrier’s instrument has twenty- seven strings, in contrast to standard hurdy-gurdies which have just six strings each, and he is always working on making improvements.

His compositions are strikingly original, and they have been recorded in both acoustic and electroacoustic versions. He works closely with other musicians, including the acclaimed tubist and serpent player Michel Godard, clarinettists Michael Riessler and Louis Sclavis, and accordionist Jean-Louis Matinier. His extensive discography includes over a dozen extraordinary records.

Clastrier is a keen proponent of his instrument, sharing his knowledge and experience. A
few years ago, he outlined the secrets of his hurdy-gurdy technique in the book “La vielle et l’univers de l’infinie roue-archet”. The publication comes with a DVD showing the intricacies of playing the instrument and techniques for both hands. Concerts remain his greatest passion, and his music takes on fresh colours during live encounters with listeners.


The concert took place in 2015.

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