Teaching and Performing

Although Nick spends most of his time in the workshop, he occasionally teaches workshops at music weekends and festivals.

He does not teach private lessons.

He is available for performances at weddings and funerals locally and can put together an ensemble suitable for a wide variety of occasions.

Nick Blanton bio

Nick Blanton, a native of Nashville, Tennessee, made his first instrument and began playing the hammered dulcimer in 1977, and since that time has become one of the foremost builders of custom instruments in the country. Working primarily with his own designs and those of builder/designer Sam Rizzetta, Nick's instruments are played by many of the top performers on the dulcimer. Although hammered dulcimers and salterios are his primary focus, he’s built other instruments including bowed psalteries, cimbaloms, citterns, tambours de Bearn and sheitholts.

Nick has worked with mime troupes in Roumania and puppet shows in Baltimore and is a member of the Compagnie Barbaroque of Grignan, which performs Baroque and new music in Grignan, France and has performed and recorded with Ensemble Trob'art on a series of music of the troubadors. He has two recordings, Ways Upon Bells, with Seth Austen and Ralph Gordon and Pas D'Ete (Summer Steps) with Seth Austen and the Compagnie Barbaroque recorded in the south of France.

Nick spends most of his time in the workshop building instruments, but performs occasionally with Paul Oorts, a repertoire includes a broad palette of music from the heart of Europe, ranging from lively, little peasant dances to urban musette waltzes of the Parisian cafe, from classical court compositions of Lully to the rousing fife and drum music of Provence in the south of France.

Nick occasionally performs with piper, Robert Mitchell and the Shepherdstown piping collective, playing mostly music from Scotland and other Celtic lands.

Nick plays hammered dulcimer, recorder, galoubet (a 3 hole tabor pipe from Provence), tambour de Bearn (a medieval string drum), Scottish smallpipes, and French-style Border pipes. When not playing French or Scottish music, Nick is most at home playing old-time fiddle tunes in jam sessions and at local dances.

Nick currently lives in Shepherdstown, WV where he and his wife, Joanie co-founded the Upper Potomac Dulcimer Fest.