Jean-Michel Jarre

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About Jean-Michel Jarre

Jean-Michel Jarre is an international icon of electronic music. Born in 1948 in Lyon, France, he is the son of storied French film composer Maurice Jarre. Early in his career, Jean-Michel walked in his father’s footsteps, creating soundtrack music for film and TV. But everything changed in 1976 with Oxygène, both for Jarre and the electronic-music world. Jarre had been working with synthesizers and electronic techniques since the late ’60s, but Oxygène’s album-long instrumental suite was his one-man tour de force, full of elegant yet accessible melodies and rich textures. It became a surprise smash around the world, putting Jarre at the leading edge of the synth revolution. But he never stopped innovating as he delved into digital technology and sampling. In 1981 he became the first Western artist asked to perform in the People’s Republic of China, and the groundbreaking concerts were documented on the live album Les concerts en Chine. Jarre has broken the record for largest concert audience multiple times, his biggest being 3.5 million people for Moscow’s 850th birthday celebration in 1997. Over the years, Jarre has incorporated a broad swath of influences into his work, including jazz and pop, occasionally bringing vocalists into the mix. Decades after his big breakthrough, Oxygène is still revered as one of the most trailblazing electronic compositions of the 20th century.

Lyon, France
August 24, 1948
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