We're very proud to be the exclusive harp maker sponsors of a fantastic, harp-theatre project that will take place on May 11th and 12th at the Théâtre de Beausobre in Morges, Switzerland.
Marielle Nordmann is no stranger to poetic, interdisciplinary creations, and she created Conte de Jataka together with young harpists in Paris, in 2011. The project's inspiration is one of the 547, ancient Indian Jataka tales. These describe the previous lives of the Buddha: more broadly, they are about subjects and values as pertinent today as they were when the stories began in 4 BC. As well as Marielle herself, Conte de Jataka involves sixteen young harpists in diverse harp ensembles, a dancer, and a narrator, together with the French theatre director Marie-Pierre Labrune. Marielle's idea is to blend different art forms, musical styles, and ages, arriving at a fresh, modern retelling. The new elements, and the intense collaboration with others, jog us into thinking about matters of universal relevance more clearly, more consciously: se rassembler pour mieux créer, as Marielle puts it, working together to create better.
Conte de Jataka is travelling to Switzerland thanks to Céline Gay des Combes, and Elodie Wulliens. Together, they formed an association - Créativ'Harp - which as its name suggests aims to promote the harp in its most versatile and creative forms. It is also an organisation with a strong pedagogic focus, in charge of selecting the sixteen young harpists involved in Conte de Jataka, its first major project. The result is an impressive roll call of pupils from nine conservatoires across French-speaking Switzerland, and even further afield, in German-speaking Switzerland and parts of France. "We are thrilled by the response from our colleagues to this project", Céline explains. "Even if we organise the immediate logistics, the venue, the rehearsal schedule with Marielle, and so on, the project still needs considerable input from the students' own teachers. I'd particularly like to thank to Geneviève Chevallier, Isabelle Martin-Achard, Marie-Luce Challet-Rapposo, Aurore Dumas, Laetitia Belmondo, Chantal de Limoges and Nyon Elise Estavoyer, for their work on the harp parts with the students throughout the year. We're also very grateful for the vote of confidence from Pierre Amoyal, who has agreed to be patron of the event."
Like Marielle, Céline has created multidisciplinary harp projects before, for example a show for children aged between four and ten, and another for everyone aged between nine and ninety-nine.
"I think children are used to a lot of different and rapidly-changing media, together - it can be hard to catch their attention through music alone. This is one reason to create interdisciplinary projects. Another is that they presents music in the context of dynamic, big-scale group efforts, achievements that belong to everyone. If you have the chance to take part in a major school play or youth orchestra, usually you remember the experience for the rest of your life, whatever you go on to do as an adult.
You remember the school play or orchestra course not just because of the scale on which you worked, but because of what that work was about. The Jataka tale we're portraying is about subjects like difference, vulnerability, humility, transformation and self-knowledge. Our show is also about how many different art forms - different styles of music, words, dance - express and teach us about such subjects. And, of course, the students have the chance to share the stage with a great artist, which is also an irreplacable experience for a budding musician. All in all, music should be a part of everyone's education. Irrespective of whether you become a musician or not, music has a part to play in your development - and so by extension that of humanity in general - that can't be matched elsewhere."
You can find ticket information for Conte de Jataka here. We'll be holding a harp exhibition and offering regulation opportunities throughout the weekend - if you would like to book your harp in to be regulated, please email email@example.com.