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Javier Sainz



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A native of Cantabria in northern Spain, Javier Sáinz graduated from the Conservatorio de Música Ataulfo Argenta in Santander in 1991 with a degree in classical guitar and music education. Since 1980 he has played early harps, focusing particularly on historical techniques such as playing with nails, selective string damping and -on his Renaissance harp- producing finger-stopped semitones. He plays exclusively historical harps and is an effortless exponent of various styles of sparkling melodic ornamentation. Javier is a pioneer in the revival of the two early gut-strung Spanish harps: the Renaissance arpa de una orden with a single string row and the chromatic arpa de dos ordenes with two rows of strings. Both a dedicated musicological researcher and a gifted soloist, Javier is one of the first harpists in modern times to play much of the original repertoire for these instruments and, almost uniquely, plays directly from 17th and 18th century harp tablature manuscripts without the need to transcribe them to standard notation. His other abiding interest is the early culture, poetry and music of Ireland and the Scottish Highlands. He plays Irish and Scottish music of the 16th to 18th centuries on a facsimile of the Lamont Harp: a brass-wire and gold strung early Scottish clarsach from c.1500.

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