Jean-Michel Jarre

Jean-Michel Andr Jarre (born August 24, 1948 in Lyon, France) is a French composer of electronic music. He is the son of Maurice Jarre, a composer of film music, who has written the scores to such films as Lawrence Of Arabia and Dr. Zhivago, among many others.

Jean-Michel Jarre is regarded as one of the pioneers in the electronic music genre, along with artists and bands such as Wendy Carlos, Vangelis, Kraftwerk, Isao Tomita or Tangerine Dream. He is well-known for staging spectacular outdoor concerts of his music, which feature laser displays and fireworks, and three of which appeared in the Guinness Book of Records for their large audiences, often of several million.



Jean-Michel Jarre began studying piano at the age of five, but he abandoned his classical training. During his youth he formed a band called Mystere IV. In late 1960s he started experimenting with tape loops, radios and other electronic devices, until, in 1968, he joined the Groupe de Recherches Musicales, under the direction of Pierre Schaeffer, the "father" of the musique concrte, where he was introduced to synthesizers.

In the mid 1970s, Jarre secured a recording contract with Polydor. His first album for them, Oxygene, was released in 1976. Contrasted with his contemporaries, such the rather clinical, hard, futuristic sound of Kraftwerk, or the more 'cosmic' and murky Tangerine Dream, Oxygene had a lush, spacey and strongly melodic sound, and was a big commercial success worldwide. The track Oxygene Part IV was released as a single and became one of the best-known pieces of electronic music ever. Key components of Jarre's sound included his use of the Electroharmonix Small Stone phaser on synthetic string pads, and liberal use of echo on various sound effects generated by the VCS3 synthesizer.

In 1978, his second album Equinoxe was released. Jarre developed his sound, employing more dynamic and rhythmic elements, particularly a greater use of sequencing on basslines. Much of this was achieved using custom equipment developed by his collaborator Michel Geiss. The release followed by a concert in Paris on the Place de la Concorde in Paris in 1979. This concert attracted 1 million people, which was Jarre's first entry in the Guinness Book of Records for the largest crowd for an outdoor concert.

In October 1981, Jarre was the first Western pop-artist who was granted to give concerts in the People's Republic of China.

In 1983 he created the album Musique pour supermarchs (Music for supermarkets), which had a print run of only a single copy. The album was made expressly to voice Jarre's distaste and disregard for the music business. Jarre destroyed all the master records from his studio work, allowed a radio station, (Radio Luxembourg) to broadcast the album once and auctioned it, raising 10,000 for French artists. People recorded the album using their tape recorders while it was broadcasted on the radio, so we can listen to that album, at a very poor quality though (the radio station was an AM station).

In 1986 NASA and the city of Houston asked him to do a concert to celebrate NASA's 25th anniversary and the city of Houston 150th anniversary. During that concert, astronaut Ronald McNair was to play the saxophone part of Jarre's piece Rendez-Vous VI while in orbit on board the Space Shuttle Challenger. It was to have been the first piece of music recorded in space, for the album Rendez-Vous. After the Challenger disaster of January 28, 1986 which killed McNair, the piece was recorded with a different saxophonist, retitled Ron's piece and the album dedicated to the seven Challenger astronauts. The Houston concert entered the Guinness Book of Records for the audience of over 1.5 million.

July 14, 1990, Jean Michel broke his own record in Guinness Book of Records again with a concert in La Defense, Paris. 2 and a half million people watched Jarre light up the business district of Paris.

In September 1997 Jarre played in Moscow to celebrate the 850th anniversary of the city. The Moscow State University was used as the backdrop for a spectacular display of image projections, skytrackers and fireworks, with an audience of 3.5 million, Jarre's 4th record for the biggest concert audience ever.

In 1999 he created a spectacular music and light show in the Egyptian desert, near Giza. The show, called The 12 Dreams of the Sun, celebrated the new millennium and 5000 years of civilization in Egypt. It also offered a preview of the new Jarre album, Metamorphoses.

In 2001 he performed a concert in collaboration with Arthur C. Clarke and Tetsuya Komuro in the Okinawa beaches, to celebrate the "real" beginning of the new millennium. The concert was called Rendez-vous in Space and the group called itself The ViZitors. Later that year, he plays at the Acropolis in Greece.

In 2002 he performed the AERO concert at Grammel Vr Enge wind farm, just outside Aalborg in Denmark, to a rather wet audience of approximately 50,000.

On October 10 2004 he gave a big concert in the Forbidden City and the Tiananmen Square in China, due to the "Year of France in China". The audience was of about 15,000 spectators, most of them special guests, but also a small number of international fans. No fireworks were used due to security concerns. This concert was broadcasted in HDTV with 5.1 sound by some satellite channels. 5.1 sound was also used on the stage. It included music from the AERO compilation album, as well as some songs not by Jarre.

Jarre was married to British actress and photographer Charlotte Rampling. In 2002 he became engaged to French actress Isabelle Adjani, but later she ended ( this relationship. Currently, Jarre is engaged to French actress Anne Parillaud. He has three children: Emilie (from Jarre's first marriage in early 1970s), Barnaby (Charlotte Rampling's son from a previous marriage) and David (Charlotte and Jean-Michel's son).

Prizes and recognitions

By 2005 he has sold an estimated 72 million albums and singles over his career.

An asteroid, 4422 Jarre, has been named in honor of him and his father.



See also

External links

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