About Didier François

Didier François

Didier François is a well known and respected Nyckelharpa player. Since the 90's he has been of the prominent players that has evolved the Nyckelharpa and Nyckelharpa music outside Sweden.

He is teaching the Nyckelharpa at the conservatory of Mechelen, the Scuola di Musica Popolare di Forlimpopoli in Italy and at the Akademie Burg Fürsteneck in Germany. He is also a member of the Cadence and Encore projects supported by the European Commission.

Didier conducts seminars and workshops on relaxation technique based on the Belgian violin school of Arthur Grumiaux: relaxed and fluid movements for beauty of sound, freedom of expression and avoidance of tendinitis.


Nyckelharpa & technique

Didier is known for creating an unusual technique and posture when playing the nyckelharpa. Holding the instrument in front of the chest, one is able to move both arms in a more natural and relaxed fashion. Using a violin shoulder rest to keep the nyckelharpa away from the body so it can swing freely also causes it to sound more open.

For many years Didier worked with the Nyckelharpa builder Joos Janssens (Dunières) for the further evolution of the instrument. Later with the nyckelharpa and bow builder Jean Claude Condi (Mirecourt), he helped with the creation of a study instrument for children. He himself plays nyckelharpas of both builders.

Viola d’amore achiavi

Today Didier Francois plays on a nyckelharpa built by Alex Pilz. It has gut strings and is specially built for renaissance-baroque music. It has a different sound than traditional swedish Nyckelharpas, closer to the viola da gamba, and therefore has the name Viola d'amore a chiavi.

Viola d'amore a Chiavi built by Alex Pilz

Albums & recordings


  • “Duo Didier Francois Philip Masure” MAPCD99004 1999
  • “Alicantes” MAPCD 99006 1999
  • “Locuras de Vanelo” ART 00101 2000
  • “44 Duets” Bela Bartok WBM 21022 2000
  • “Falling Tree” Longe Distance Harmonia Mundi WAG 331 2001
  • “L’oubli du sommeil & Brand new world” 2007 Homerecords.be 4446033
  • “Sjansons Patinées” Homerecords.be 4446047 2008
  • “Nyckelharpa Solo” Homerecords.be 4446079 2011
  • Tied & Nyckled “Baroque update” Homerecords.be 4446140 2015


  • Armand Amar “Chamanes Schamanen” Femios CD 006 1999
  • Folk Music in Flanders MAP 20003 2000
  • Armand Amar “Amen” Longe Distance Harmonia Mundi 3076192 WAG 331 2002
  • “Paroles D’anges” Long Distance Harmonia Mundi 3078902 WAG 331 2002
  • EBU World Music Workshop Volume 2 2003
  • Armand Amar “La terre vue du ciel” Naive 2004
  • Soetkin Collier “Nocturne” Homerecords.be 4446027 2007
  • Elias Nardis “Orange Tree” ZDM 1006
  • Soetkin Collier Reisland APR 1340 2011
  • Zefiro Torna Tears Of Joy KTC 4038 2011
  • Nyckelharpa orchestra “Encore” Live CDNH02 2013
  • Elias Nardi Flowers of Fragility WM3010 2015
  • KV Express Zafon homerecords.be 4446145 2016
  • Zefiro Torna Scattered Rhymes Torna-frank Vaganée Homerecords. be 4446147 2015

Film scores

  • “Amen” music Arman Amar, filmdirector Costa-Gavras with Ulrich Tukur, Mathieu Kassovitz, Ulrich Mühe 2002
  • “La Terre vue du ciel ” music Arman Amar, filmdirector Yann Arthus-Bertrand 2004
  • “Sagan” music Arman Amar, filmdirector Diane Kurys with Sylvie Testud, Pierre Palmade, Jeanne Balibar 2008
  • “Eden à l’Ouest” music Arman Amar, filmdirector Costa-Gavras with Riccardo Scamarcio, Odysseas Papaspiliopoulos, 2009
  • “Tusen ganger god natt ” music Arman Amar, filmdirector van Erik Poppe with Juliette Binoche, 2014
  • “Ce soir je vais tuer l’assassin de mon fils ” music Arman Amar, filmdirector Pierre Aknine with Jean-Paul Rouve, Sami Bouajila, Audrey Lamy | 2014
  • “Méditerranée, notre mer à tous” music Arman Amar, filmdirector Yann Arthus-Bertrand, Michael Pitiot with Gérard Darmon 2014
  • “Human” music Arman Amar, filmdirector Yann Arthus-Bertrand with Luis Cancu, Atman, Berthony 2015
  • “La vallée des loups” music Arman Amar, filmdirector Jean-Michel Bertrand 2016


If you have any questions you can email us on info@nyckelharpa.be and we will do our best to answer them as soon as possible.


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