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Michel Godard

Michel Godard is a French multi-instrumentalist who plays such instruments as the tuba, serpent and bass and specialises in classical and jazz music.



Born near Belfort (France) in 1960, Michel Godard soon established himself as an extraordinarily versatile exponent of the tuba, pursuing a career in jazz and classical music. Today he is one of the most virtuosic tuba and serpent players in jazz as well as in improvised music.


Michel Godard's tuba performance is fantastic in every sense: his technical skill is astounding, his tone clear and warm, his ability to produce overtones (‘multiphonics') and his musicality leaves the listener surprised at how light a seemingly cumbersome and heavy-weight tuba can sound.

In 1979 he picked up an ancestor of the tuba, the serpent, an instrument with a name derived from its form which resembles a coiled snake. The serpent's ivory mouthpiece gives it a characteristic warm and intense tone. With this ‘second' instrument, Michel Godard has taken yet another step in broadening the field of expression in ancient music as well as in jazz. Since 2002, Michel Godard has taught the serpent at the ‘Conservatoire national de musique' in Paris.

As a classical musician, since 1988 Michel Godard has played with the Radio-France Philharmonic Orchestra, the French National Orchestra, the Ensemble Musique Vivante, the ancient music Ensemble La Venice and ‘XVIII-21Musique de Lumieres'. He was also a member of the ‘Arban Chamber Brass' quintet (touring Japan, America and Africa) and worked as a soloist as well.

Little wonder that, with such a wealth of experience, he gives international master classes, and has been offered work by the European jazz scene as well as by the avant garde.

As a jazz artist, he was a member of the French Orchestre National de Jazz from 1989 to 1991. Since then, Michel Godard has been involved in various creative projects across Western and Southern Europe with Michel Portal, Louis Sclavis, Henry Texier, Enrico Rava, Michael Riessler, Kenny Wheeler, Ray Anderson, Rabih Abou-Khalil, Sylvie Courvoisier, Klaus König, Simon Nabatov, Wolfgang Puschnig, Linda Sharrock, Pierre Favre, Misha Mengelberg, Linda Bsiri, Gianluigi Trovesi, Christof Lauer, Maria Pia De Vito, Pino Minafra, Luciano Biondini,Willem Breuker, Herbert Joos, Dave Bargeron and many more.

As a composer, Michel Godard has been commissioned by Radio France (‘Penthés(il)ée II'), Donaueschinger Musiktage/Südwestrundfunk (‘de mémoire de tuba;, ‘Tra la folla, mora, mormora' , ‘Praeludium') and French Ministere de la Culture (‘Bradamente aux aguets', ‘les enfants d'un paradis').

He has recorded many albums of his own projects: ‘Archangelica', ‘ImpertinAnce', ‘Cousins Germains' for  CAMjazz, ‘Castel del monte', ‘Tubatuba' for  Enja, ‘Deep', and ‘trio rouge' for  Intuition to name but a few.

Michel Godard has also played and recorded with the pipeband from the Normandy town of Quimper, with reggae star Alpha Blondy and with ‘Canterbury' rock musicians John Greaves and Pip Pyle. Together with harpsichordist Freddy Echelberger, he collaborates with writer Nancy Huston (Tendres ténèbres, pérégrinations Goldberg, Tentatives de renaissance).