With her electro-pneumatic harp, Anja Linder, a paraplegic musician for 23 years, will make a “dream” come true: playing at the closing ceremony of the Paris Paralympic Games on September 8 at the Théâtre du Châtelet. Three weeks of rehearsals at the end of August and beginning of September, works that speak to everyone, a staging making “disability not visible” so “that art takes precedence”: this is what the 49-year-old harpist can confide about this final clap which will complete the sequence of the Paris Summer Games which started on July 26.

Bound by a confidentiality clause, Anja Linder knows very little about it… Except that she will perform in an orchestra and in a duo with a guitarist.

In any case, she will realize a “dream”, she told AFP: participating in this “world celebration”, she who feels “tenderness and solidarity towards the athletes and all the weakened people who have rebuilt themselves despite the handicap”.

Winner of an international competition, Anja was planning a career as a concert artist when, in July 2001, she was the victim of an accident at the Parc de Pourtalès on the outskirts of Strasbourg: under the effect of violent winds, a 40 cm plane tree m high fell on the tent where the spectators of a music concert had taken refuge (13 dead, 97 injured).

She lost almost complete use of her legs, had to spend “more than a year between hospitals and rehabilitation centers” and was deprived of her instrument for several years.

Today, this daughter of a piano teacher and a sculptor, who fell “in love” with the instrument during a concert, a former student of the Strasbourg conservatory, was able to return to music. Since 2006, she has benefited from the “Anjamatic” system: an electro-pneumatic harp controlled by a computer, which works with a compressor, designed especially for her by an electronics engineer and a computer scientist and whose prototype has been regularly improved.

The system is discreetly installed in the base of his century-old harp which belonged to the harpist Marielle Nordmann, who was also his teacher.

While her fingers dance from one string to another, the musician, with laughing brown eyes under light brown bangs, activates a small cable with her mouth which triggers a change of pedals. On a classical harp, the pedals move under the action of the feet. They are essential because they modify the seven notes of an octave – what we call “accidentals” (sharp, flat, natural).

Bonus: this harp offers “a greater exploration of the musical repertoire”, explains Anja Linder, so much so that she taught the technique for ten years to students at the Strasbourg Conservatory, then in masterclasses. Passionate about the romantic period, the musician produced three records. In the latest, released in February, she performs works by Franz Schubert, in a trio with a violinist and a cellist. And to confide, admiringly: “Schubert, for me, is the one who best manages to overcome his pain to draw universal emotions from it”.