Pioneer of one of the fastest growing trends in the industry today, electronic music, composer Jean-Michel Jarre elevated the genre to new peaks of popularity as early as the late 70’s and 80’s with 80 million albums sold worldwide, to date.
Emerging as an innovative international superstar, he creates a new format of out-door concert performance that has contributed to break the ground for a new generation of out-door live cultural events. Multifaceted artist, Jean-Michel Jarre is also composer and lyricist of milestone hits in his native France and composer of international movie soundtracks. Apart from his activities directly linked to musical composition, Jean-Michel Jarre has been spokesperson for IFPI and has headed various lobbies for Internet copyright legislation before the European Parliament. Since June 2013 Jarre was elected president of CISAC succeeding the late Robin Gibb. Jean-Michel Jarre is also, for the past two decades, UNESCO spokesperson and Ambassador contributing to the awareness of two key UN Millennium projects “Water for Life” and “Education for All”.
Having followed formal studies of harmony and counterpoint at the Conservatoire de Paris, he was inspired to reinvent music at its core, with his own singular vision, deploying the technology and tools of his epoch.
Between 1968 and 1972, after having worked with Pierre Schaeffer in the GRM (Group for Musical Research), he composes and produces a series of electronic music pieces ; The Cage, Deserted Palace…1971 : He is the first composer to introduce electronic music into the sanctuary of the Paris Opera House, with the ballet AOR .In 1972 he composes the original soundtrack for Jean Chapot’s Les Granges Brûlées starring Alain Delon and Simone Signoret and in 1978 Peter Fleischmann’s The Sickness of Hamburg.
During 1973-74 he composes and/or writes the lyrics for, and artistically produces, major French talent, Françoise Hardy, Gérard Lenorman and Christophe’s two key albums, Les Paradis Perdus and Les Mots Bleus.
He also signs the staging and direction of Christophe’s two concerts at the Olympia Theatre, in Paris. 1974-75 brings him to Los Angeles where he writes and produces two albums for Patrick Juvet, Mort ou Vif (l’Enfant aux Cheveux Blancs, Faut pas rêver) and Paris by Night (Où sont les femmes?). He works with Herbie Hancock’s musicians and Ray Parker Junior.
In 1976, he hits the top of the charts worldwide with breakthrough album Oxygene (Prix de l’Académie Charles Cros in France). This international success in French record history remains unequalled today with sales in the region of 12 million.
The follow up, 1978’s Equinoxe, confirms Jarre’s credibility in the industry and a year later he also revolutionises the concert performance scene by creating what was to be the first of his ongoing outdoor concert-events at Place de la Concorde in Paris to a live audience of 1 million, earning his first entry in the Guinness Book of Records for the largest attendance. 1979 Peter Weir asks him to score Gallipoli, starring the debut actor Mel Gibson.
Jarre’s third album Magnetic Fields is released in 1981. That same year he becomes the first Western musician to be invited to perform in post-Mao Red China. His concerts in Beijing and Shanghai, make history in the line of cultural events in the country and are shared by 500 million listeners and viewers on the People’s radio and television.
A double LP, Concerts in China, is released the following year, a musical souvenir of the Chinese adventure.In 1983, Jarre provokes a stir by putting up for auction the unique copy of Music for Supermarkets at the Hotel Drouot Auction House in Paris and having the plates destroyed in presence of a bailiff. Jarre wanted to stress the value of music as an artistic creation as he foresaw its future devaluation in being aligned with mass consumer goods on shelves of supermarkets.The LP was for a long time one of the most sought-after collectors in history.
Zoolook is released in 1984. It is voted Instrumental Album of the Year in the US, Victoire de la Musique and Prix de l’Académie Charles Cros in France. Jarre reaches into a new artistic direction and works with Laurie Anderson, Adrian Belew and Marcus Miller. He uses a multitude of foreign language intonations and for the first time in music production a record number of samples. In 1986, Jean-Michel Jarre stages a memorable state-of-the-art concert on the Houston skyline in the U.S. in collaboration with the City Hall and NASA. 1.3 million Americans camped for hours to share the event and Rendez-Vous, the new album. The live attendance in Houston gained Jarre his second entry in the Guinness Book of Records and People Magazine elected the European musician Person of the Year. To celebrate his homecoming to France a few months later, Jarre’s home city of Lyon invites him to perform the night of Pope John Paul II visit in October. His native town and region turned out en masse (1 million).
He contributes to movie Nine and a Half Weeks by Adrian Lyne starring Kim Basinger and Mickey Rourke.
1987 sees the release of Houston-Lyon, Cities in Concert, a live double album. Jean-Michel Jarre is awarded two Victoires de la Musique, Instrumental Album of the Year for Rendez-Vous and Concert of the Year for Houston.
In 1988 he releases Revolutions, one of the first encounters of electronic music and the Arab world of instruments and sounds.
This same year brings him to London’s Docklands where he stages two concerts in appalling weather conditions. 250,000 tickets sold like lightning as the British, being among his most fervent supporters from day one, would not miss this event, including close friend H.R.H. Princess Diana.
Jarre’s tenth album Waiting for Cousteau is released in 1990. The undersea world of the famous oceanographer, Jacques-Yves Cousteau, was the inspiration for this work. On July 14th, Jean-Michel Jarre creates and performs his most spectacular concert yet at Paris-La-Défense breaking his own live audience record by playing to a live crowd of a staggering 2.5 million. Images, a compilation of his most popular themes, is released in 1991 and he stages in 1992 three outdoor concerts at Lost City in South Africa. Jean-Michel Jarre has also signed the music for a 1992 documentary-film Palawan, directed by Jacques-Yves Cousteau.
1993 sees the release of Chronologie (Victoire de la Musique 1994), a voyage through the mechanism and evolution of Time.
Jean-Michel Jarre teams up with Swatch for his first ever tour: Europe in Concert. The sold-out tour brings him across sites from the Mont-Saint-Michel to Versailles Château and stadiums of the continent, from Wembley & Manchester Stadium, to Barcelona Olympic Stadium, Nep Stadium in Budapest… he is the sole French artist and one of the few internationals to play sold-out in these venues.
From Europe to Asia, in 1994 Jarre is invited to open the new stadium in Hong Kong and brings some of his Chinese musical souvenirs back to the local community.
1995: Jarre is back in Paris, this time at the foot of the Eiffel Tower for his Concert for Tolerance under the High-patronage of UNESCO for which he is Ambassador for two years. Always faithful, his audience counts 1.2 million. The same year, he is decorated “Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur” by the French government. In 1997 Jean-Michel Jarre releases Oxygene 7-13; more than a sequel to the earlier album, Jarre had the idea to situate his early inspiration in new light, two decades later. The Oxygene Tour this same year sold-out 25 dates across Europe.
The City of Moscow invites Jarre to perform his largest ever concert as a statement of modernity, for the people who have followed his music over the years in difficult conditions. Nobody could have foreseen the impact of this invitation as the Russians came some 3.5 million-strong to show their welcome and share their joy, (Jarre’s third entry in the Guinness Book of Records). They were not disappointed, as Jean Michel himself had reserved a sizeable surprise as he introduced his special guests, the astronauts from MIR on a live video link from space.
1998: Jarre collaborates with British group Apollo 440 to produce Rendez-vous 98, a single for the official World Cup football album. ITV, in the U.K., adopt the single for their broadcast of the competition. On July 14th, forty-eight hours after France’s world victory, Jean-Michel Jarre stages a concert at the Eiffel Tower in Paris to celebrate his nations’ win and is joined on-stage by Apollo 440 and Japan’s superstar, Tetsuya ‘TK’ Komuro, amongst others.
On December 31st 1999, Jean-Michel Jarre is commissioned by the Egyptian government to create and perform a historic Millennium concert, from sunset to sunrise, at the foot of the Great Pyramids near Cairo. He succeeds, during this concert, in catalysing a realm of talent and instruments from different ages and civilisations; traditional Arabic, symphonic orchestra and electronic. An audience of 120,000 were privileged to share the event on-site, while over 2 billion followed the concert on world television and just over 2 million connected for an average of 35 minutes on the worldwide web.
2000 sees the release of Jean-Michel Jarre’s album Metamorphoses. This is Jarre’s first ‘vocal’ album in which he works with several female artists: Laurie Anderson, Natacha Atlas, Deirdre Dubois (Ekova) and Sharon Corr (The Corrs).For the dawn of 2001, Jean-Michel Jarre teams up with his favourite science-fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke (2001 Space Odyssey) to create 2001 – Rendez-Vous in Space. The state-of-the-art musical and visual odyssey is staged in Okinawa, Japan, with Asian star Tetsuya Komuro “TK” on January 1st 2001 to mark the true arrival of the new Millennium.
June, the same year, Jarre performs two exclusive concerts at the ancient theatre, Herodus Atticus Odeon, at the Acropolis in Athens. Commissioned by the Greek Ministry of Culture, he composes Akropolis, a theme for symphonic orchestra dedicated to the historical site for the future.In 2001, Jarre composes the original soundtrack for Qui veut devenir une star ?, the first feature film of young debut director Patrice Pooyard.
During 2001, he was commissioned by Match Télévision to create the sound design of the cable channel, and by Bang & Olufsen for the visual and sound design of their B & O Concept Store on the Champs-Elysées in Paris.
On the 7th of September 2002, Jean-Michel Jarre chooses the north of the Kingdom of Denmark to celebrate the Wind and renewable energies in a once again totally singular site: a windmill farm near the city of Aalborg, where 50,000 paying audience attend.
2004 sees the release of the album “AERO” (CD + DVD). “AERO” is a first; the album is constructed in surround sound and Dolby digital 5.1. Like the milestones of Mono (1877) and Stereo (1958) that went before it, « AERO » is a unique 360° sound experience that marks a change in the way we listen to music. October 2004, Jean-Michel Jarre performs a historical concert in Beijing at the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. An audience of over a billion followed the event live on Chinese TV (CCTV four different channels), NHK Japan and French national TV.
August 2005, Nobel Peace Prize, Lech Walesa, invites Jean-Michel Jarre to celebrate 25th Anniversary of “Solidarnosc” in the shipyard of Gdansk in Poland in front of a paying audience of 170.000. Over 7 million TV viewers followed the concert Live on Polish national television, TVP1.
December 2006, in partnership with UNESCO, Jean-Michel Jarre conceived & performed a unique concert-event in Merzouga – Morocco, in the Sahara Desert, to promote the UN program “Water For Life” with local traditional and classical musicians.
December 2007 : To celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the seminal album Oxygene, Jean-Michel Jarre took over Théâtre Marigny in Paris for 10 special intimate concerts, where he performed the entire masterpiece, with the help of three musicians and deploying the original mythical instruments; more than fifty legendary analogue synthesizers.
2008 saw Jean Michel carry the Oxygene electro-acoustic theatrical project across Europe to some of the continent’s most prestigious theatres – London’s Royal Albert Hall, The Carré in Amsterdam, Kremlin Palace in Moscow, The Circus in Stockholm, Berlin, Prague, Warsaw…Jarre played sold-out to audiences that revelled in sharing this unique experience, up-close and personal.
In 2009 Jarre embarks on his first ever arena tour inviting the audience to journey into his singular universe – to immerse themselves totally in his world of timeless music and vision. With this unique and brand-new super production he shares the energy of his macro concerts with the emotions of an arena experience.
With the fusion of analogue synthesizers, cutting-edge digital technology, spectacular lasers design and lighting choreography, Jarre conceived a show that encapsulates his signature expression and talent for creating milestone events.
The 250-date tour, across 30 countries, sees Jarre sell-out some of the most important venues in Europe : O2 arenas in London, Berlin, Dublin & Hamburg, Bercy in Paris, Olympia Halle Munich, Oslo’s Spektrum, Istanbul, Beirut, Santiago de Compostella…Creates ‘Jarre Technologies’, an affordable & aesthetic high-tech hardware brand, with the aim to put the emotion and quality back into the audio & musical listening experience, which he deems has been perversely neglected in favour of convenience of data.July 2011: HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco called upon Jean-Michel Jarre to celebrate his Royal Wedding by creating and performing a concert-event in the Principality which was largely broadcast on television & Internet worldwide to an estimated audience of 3 billion and #6 Twitter Trend.
June 6, 2013 at the World Creators Summit in Washington DC, Jarre is elected President of CISAC (the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers), representing all artistic disciplines – music, cinema, visual arts, theatre and literature – the voice of over 3 million creators around the world.
2011-2015 sees Jarre composing and producing one of his most ambitious projects to date, ELECTRONICA 1 & 2. A double album comprised of select collaborations with artists & legends spanning four decades of electronic music that have been and continue to be a source of inspiration for Jarre. From Moby to Air, Pete Townshend to M83, Julia Holter to Hans Zimmer, Robert de Naja (Massive Attack) to Gary Numan, The Orb to Tangerine Dream….with a surprising collaboration with whistleblower Edward Snowden. Both albums were welcomed with critical acclaim. Summer 2016, Jarre embarks on his Electronica World Tour with leg 1 seeing him perform 50 concerts across Europe, before heading to the USA and other continents in 2017.
December 2016: Jarre releases OXYGENE 3, marking the 40th anniversary of his landmark debut album. This ultimate chapter sees him fulfilling a trilogy of albums with OXYGENE 3 containing seven newly composed and recorded pieces, consistently titled parts 14-20. His inspiration for the newly added parts on OXYGENE 3 was not to go back in time, but to add a sense of “now” to his iconic piece of work. Plunging into the environment of OXYGENE with its highly original dark, moody and at times quite upbeat musical language, Jarre references some of the music from his entire body of work on OXYGENE 3. It’s a state-of-the-art recording, embracing both classic and modern ways of music production.
Jarre produces the brand new sound-design for the national continuous news radio & TV in France : France Info.
2017 promises to be yet again another exciting and busy year. Jarre is nominated for the Grammy Awards for ELECTRONICA 1 “The Time Machine” in best Dance / Electronic Album of 2016. He is also nominated in the same category for ELECTRONICA 2 “The Heart of Noise” in France’s Victoires de la Musique. Concerts are plenty again this year with a very special event at The Dead Sea in Israel in April, a USA tour in May and more concerts & Festivals across Europe.