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Jean Michel Jarre Biography


Home > Music > J > Jarre, Jean Michel > Biography


Born: 1948/08/24
Birth Place: Lyon, France
Years Active: 1969–present
Genres: Electronic Music, Instrumental Music, New Age, Ambient


Jean-Michel André Jarre (born 24 August 1948) is a French composer, performer and music producer. He is regarded as a pioneer in the electronic, synthpop, ambient and New Age genres, as well as an organiser of outdoor spectacles of his music which feature lights, laser displays and fireworks.

Jarre was raised in Lyon by his mother and grandparents, and trained on the piano. From an early age he was introduced to a variety of art forms, including those of street performers, jazz musicians, and the artist Pierre Soulages. He played guitar in a band, but his musical style was perhaps most heavily influenced under the direction of Pierre Schaeffer, a pioneer of musique concrète at the Groupe de Recherches Musicales.

His first mainstream success was the 1976 album ''Oxygène''. Recorded in a makeshift studio at his home, the album went on to sell an estimated 12 million copies. ''Oxygène'' was followed in 1978 by ''Équinoxe'', and in 1979 Jarre performed to a record-breaking audience of more than a million people at the Place de la Concorde, a record he has since broken on three separate occasions. More albums were to follow, but his 1979 concert served as a blueprint for his future performances around the world. Several of his albums have been released to coincide with large-scale outdoor events, and he is now perhaps as well known as a performer, as he is a musician.

Jarre has sold an estimated 80 million albums and singles. He was the first western musician to be allowed to perform in the People's Republic of China, and holds the world record for the largest ever audience at an outdoor event. He has three children, and is married to French actress Anne Parillaud.