Radio SMCQ: Jean Derome

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Montréal, Québec, 1955

  • Composer
  • Performer (saxophones (alto, baritone, soprano), flutes (flute, bass flute, piccolo, alto flute, recorders), keyboards, small wind instruments (ocarinas, jew’s harp, game calls, toys…), percussion, invented instruments, voice)

One of the most active and eclectic musicians on the Canadian creative music scene, Jean Derome has earned the recognition of a larger public, a rare feat in the world of new music. Thanks to his large-scale musique actuelle projects, his compositions, his work as an improviser, his jazz groups and his music for the screen and the stage, Derome ranks as a major creative force, in Quebec and abroad.

Ever since his work with Nébu (one of Quebec’s first avant-garde jazz groups) in the early ‘70s, Derome has been consistently renewing and diversifying his approach of composition. In the early ‘80s, he co-founded Ambiances Magnétiques, an artists’ collective and record label that both raised his profile at home and introduced his name to the outside world. His numerous projects include the duos Les Granules, Nous perçons les oreilles and Plinc! Plonc!, the dynamic group Jean Derome et les Dangereux Zhoms, and the large-scale projects Confitures de gagaku, Je me souviens — Hommage à Georges Perec and Canot-camping. In 1992, Derome became the second artist to be presented with the Freddie Stone Award.

Derome has also shared the stage with several musicians of international stature, among others Fred Frith, Lars Hollmer, Louis Sclavis and Han Bennink. He performs regularly throughout Canada, the US and in Europe and in 2001 he received a Prix Opus for his international visibility. Derome is also a frequent collaborator in modern jazz projects, as well as a much-sought after composer for films, having created dozens of scores the National Film Board over the course of the past 25 years.

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