Welcome to vantichelen.name. This site is meant as a blog to share insights and finds about mandolin history.


Revisited: Anonymous, Sinfonia for mandolin (or oboe or flute?), violins and bass

Several years ago, I published about the discovery of an anonymous mandolin concerto in a library in Stockholm. Though I decided to revisit this piece, alas, it’s not because new material came to light (the provenance is still elusive). Even after 7 years, neither I nor any of my partners in crime of mandolin research …

Historical mandolin sources at Yale University library (4/4): Divertimenti by Constantino Palesi (1775)

Context For once my new find is not an item thought lost which I discovered by a focused search. This time I caught hold of it by going through library catalogues and finding an item unknown to me. Coincidentally, the item was found in the same library as where I found the missing Six Duos by …

Historical mandolin sources at Yale University library (3/4): Six Duos by Pietro Denis (1764)

Context In the course of my research into mandolin prints prior to 1850, I have tried to find some of the volumes thought lost. High on my list was the volume Six Duos Pour Deux Mandolines by Pietro Denis printed in Paris in 1764. It’s the first print in Paris to list the mandolin first on …


Pieter Van Tichelen first laid eyes on a mandolin at the age of 6 and never recovered. After graduating with high honours at the music academy of Brasschaat, he pursued studies in musicology at the Unversity of Leuven. In 2000 he graduated magna cum laude to a Master’s degree in Musicology on a theses about 17th century mandolin history. Afterwards he took some mandolin classes at the Tilburg Cathorlic Conservatory with professor Benny Ludemann.

Pieter has enjoyed playing the mandolin with several of Belgium’s symphonic and opera orchestras (Vlaamse Opera, De Munt, VRT-orkest etc.). He also recorded several CD’s as session musician, and for a few years played in a Dutch-Belgian folk ensemble (Aerdewerck). For about 15 years he formed a permanent mandolin-guitar duo with guitarist Johan Dias, which occasionally still performs. Pieter is also a member of the mandolin orchestra of Brasschaat (Brasschaats Mandoline-Orkest).

As specialist in musicology and mandolin history, Pieter has uncovered several manuscripts and prints with parts for mandolin who were either though lost or even completely unknown. He was honoured twice with a guest professorship at the Antwerp Music Conservatory to teach early mandolin history (to ca. 1850). To this day he’s also a permanent member of the International Symposium of Mandolin History.

Also check out mandolinhistory.org

Part of my time in investigating mandolin history is also spent on an ongoing effort to document the historical sources. It is a huge undertaking and I won’t always have enough time to continuously add new items. However, with a planned update of the site I will likely reduce maintenance and updates will become easier (and hopefully more frequent). Over the year, mandolinhistory.org should become a haven for any mandolin enthusiast who wants to know more.