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23 June 1970, Brest, Brittany, France. On his million-selling soundtrack album Amelie, Tiersen is credited with playing toy piano alongside more expected instruments such as carillon (glockenspiel), banjo, mandolin, guitar, harpsichord, vibraphone, accordion, piano, bass, and melodica. He studied at the musical academies of Rennes, Nantes, and Boulogne yet despite this classical education cites the Stooges and Joy Division as influences and says he completed his training in rock groups where he experimented with electronic sounds and pop formats. His 1995 debut, La Valse Des Monstres, drew comparison with artists such as Nino Rota, Erik Satie, and the Penguin Café Orchestra. Tiersens subsequent minimalist recordings led to the composer being dubbed the Gallic Michael Nyman, a title with which he has expressed discomfort. The UK newspaper The Guardian, however, has less kindly suggested that Tiersen lacks the analytical rigour of...