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Jean-Michel Blais


Montreal-based Quebec pianist-composer-performer Jean-Michel Blais trained as a classical pianist at the Conservatoire de Musique de Trois-Rivières. The constraints of it bothered him, as he began to gravitate around improvisation and experimentation. He therefore left the institution to travel, interrupting his musical journey.

He first volunteered in a Guatemala orphanage, before visiting Europe several times. Back home, he completed a special education degree allowing him to work for five years with disadvantaged and immigrant families in Montreal. Eager to pursue his academic career, he started Undergraduate Studies in Liberal Arts and Psychology, which he completed in Buenos Aires. Meanwhile, he continued discovering the old continent, spontaneously moving to Berlin, where he fell for the electronic scene.

Living in Montreal since 2010, he rediscovered his passion for compositing and performing, launched his debut opus, Il, written after two years of daily improvisation. The disc ranked among the Top 10 best albums in Time Magazine, which mentioned that his music breathes, invites to take a moment and recognize there's still plenty of beauty left in the world. The album collected more than 50 million plays worldwide, ranked fourteen times number one on classical Billboard (Canada) and appeared in the long list of the Polaris Music Prize. 

Suffering from Tourette syndrome, he was inspired by ambient and new age music his parents would play him as a child to alleviate his symptoms. The result is a catalogue tinged with minimalism, samples and electronics which have carved a place in the short list of the Polaris Music Prize, received the best classical album Libera Awards and recorded the soundtrack of "Matthias & Maxime", the film directed by Xavier Dolan.

Critically acclaimed, Blais received an honorable gold record from the Cannes Soundtrack Award, for his work of remarkable quality, as well as the Iris for the best original music.

In 2021, his album "aubades" saw him write for chamber orchestra, for the first time, affirming himself as an emerging composer.

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