Asheville, North Carolina-based National Hammered Dulcimer Champion, Joshua Messick, breathes new life into an ancient, enchanting instrument. Be transported as he weaves cinematic stylings and endless imagination with virtuosic performances. A beautiful and captivating listening experience, Joshua’s musical artistry is influenced by Celtic, World, Renaissance, Folk, and Classical music.
When his four-year-old ears heard the hammered dulcimer for the first time, Joshua Messick turned to his mom and said, “I promise I will learn to play the hammered dulcimer before I am thirty.”
At nine, when he got ahold of a pair of dulcimer hammers and coaxed sound from the strings for the first time, a music teacher asked how long he had been taking lessons. “I haven’t,” he said, still going at it. It’s as if Joshua came into this world equipped with a pre-existing relationship with the hammered dulcimer.
Joshua began arranging music at ten and composing in high school. By the time he was eighteen, he became the 2003 National Hammered Dulcimer Champion.
Joshua is first and foremost a composer, crafting original compositions drawing from Celtic, Classical, and World styles. For those who love more traditional music, he breathes new life into Folk, Hymns, Classical, and traditional favorites.
“I’ve put my entire life into this music,” he tells an interviewer, and it is readily apparent. Few musicians can span the breadth of styles he easily plays. Enjoy his music on iTunes or CDs, or catch him playing live and you will feel the soulful presence that stirs in his music. You will be transported to a peaceful, nourishing place.
Messick further elaborates, “how music relates to people is something that fascinates me. Music is the sound of the human spirit and for me is prayer without words. There has been a process for me to understand the place music has in my life and why I play it. I used to play only for the purpose of becoming good. Now, I play music because I love it with an understanding that music is God’s gift to experience His love and healing. In addition to this, I seek to play honestly from the heart, learn as much as I can, and enjoy music”
“Joshua Messick is one of a handful of new, young virtuoso hammered dulcimer players emerging from around the country. He is a National Hammered Dulcimer Champion and continues to grow and mature as an exceptional talent. His skill on the instrument doesn’t begin and end with his technical proficiency. He has an amazing sense for composition and has written, and continues to write, beautiful passages that specifically highlight the unique qualities and strengths of the hammered dulcimer. Joshua is a player who understands the power of the space between the notes and has the ability to transform a solo piece into a symphonic experience.”
Jerry Read Smith, Master Hammered Dulcimer Luthier
“I thought I had seen everything. Then, I came upon Joshua Messick bringing a gorgeous hammered dulcimer to life. His ability to pull both gentle beauty and edgy power out of this instrument is astounding. And his ear is impeccable. I had no idea that a hammered dulcimer player could be a rockstar.”
Theme Composer, NPR
“Messick is a composer and arranger of the highest caliber, skills that only accentuate his mastery of the hammered dulcimer, not take away from his playing in any way. Few people can write or play at the level he does, and even fewer can do both during their musical careers. Messick’s music is well-written, carefully arranged and performed at a world-class level.”