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Biography

Hélène Breschand (born 18 March 1966 in Paris) is a French harpist, composer and improviser. Breschand leads a career both as a solo artist as well as in ensemble work, playing both a contemporary repertoire and premiering new works as much as she plays improvised music and musical theater. She is a musician who plays on the verge of several genres ranging from contemporary music to jazz. She plays both written and improvised music.

Born in Paris into a family of artists, she discovered contemporary music during the serial music movement, and discovered free jazz and the expansion of new technologies as early as the 1970s.

She began learning harp with Martine Géliot, before deciding to continue with Brigitte Sylvestre, a harpiste who was with Atem and who played with the Greek contemporary composer Georges Aperghis. Ms. Sylvestre initiated her into musical theater and contemporary music. Breschand obtained the "Médaille d'or" and the "Prix d'Excellence" by unanimity at the Conservatoire à Rayonnement Régional of Paris under Brigitte Sylvestre and obtained the "Prize of Analysis" with Christian Acaoui. She teaches harp and gives an improvisation workshop at the conservatory of the 6th arrondissement in Paris and she is regularly invited to give workshops around the world.

She has met and participated in the creation of new works in chamber ensembles and orchestras where she has worked with Luciano Berio, Bernard Cavanna, Pascal Dusapin, Emmanuel Nùnes, François Sarhan… Breschand has also had several pieces for solo harp composed especially for her.

She regularly performs contemporary repertoire by composers such as Georges Aperghis, John Cage, Mauricio Kagel, Luc Ferrari, Jacques Rebotier, Georgia Spiropoulos, Yoshihisa Taïra, Kasper Toeplitz, Tôn-Thât Tîet, David Toop…

She has played both written and improvised music with musicians such as Sophie Agnel, Uriel Barthélémi, Bruno Chevillon, Médéric Collignon, Vincent Courtois, Marc Ducret, Michel Doneda, Michel Godard, Sylvain Kassap, Joelle Léandre, Vincent Le Quang, Thierry Madiot, Jean-Marc Montera, Michael Nick, Annick Nozati, Zeena Parkins, Jean-François Pauvros, Didier Petit, Edith Scob, Elliott Sharp, The Do, Kasper Toeplitz, Franck Vigroux, Wilfried Wendling…

She has often played in museum settings for different exhibitions and installations (Nox, Pierick Sorin.., in museums in Arles, Nantes, Paris, Strasbourg, Troyes…). Her interest in fine arts lead to her collaboration on works by Christian Marclay. Invited by this artist, she interpreted "Graffiti composition" several times as well as played "Shuffle" in several different configurations, such as Screenplay, at la Villette in Paris with Elliot Sharp.

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