Born in Beirut in 1980, Ibrahim Maalouf is today the most popular instrumentalist on the French music scene. His work of gender crossbreeding has been recognized around the world for over 10 years.
Filling the Volkswagen Arena in Istanbul, making concerts sold out at the Lincoln Jazz Center in New York, and traveling through more than 40 countries in the world in the last 10 years, he becomes the first jazzman in history to fill the most great concert hall of France. Indeed, Ibrahim makes a historic show on December 14, 2016 displaying full more than 8 months in advance at the AccorHotels Arena Paris Bercy.
A few months later, Ibrahim creates the surprise. Called “Virtuoso” by the New York Times, he performed at an exceptional concert in collaboration with The New Levant Initiative, at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, for the world premiere of his album “Levantine Symphony No.1”.
Ibrahim is rewarded with 4 “Victoires de la Musique”, a “Echo Jazz” in Germany, a “César of the Best Film Music” in 2016, an “Enlightenment Award” for the best film music in 2016. He also receives Honorary Prizes as Knight of the Order of Merit, and Knight of Arts and Letters of the French Government.
As a teenager, Ibrahim was at the top of the biggest international competitions in the world and began a career as a classical soloist, but from the 2000s, spotted for his ability to color the music of his improvisations, he became a staple in pop, jazz than in the field of so-called “world music”. Sting, Salif Keita, Amadou & Mariam, Tryo, Matthieu Chédid, Lhasa de Sela and many artists of all kinds of styles appeal to him.
Between 2007 and 2019, Ibrahim produced, composed, arranged and directed more than 15 albums for him and for other artists. He also composes more than 10 symphonic works as well as about fifteen feature films.
In 2019, Ibrahim signs the soundtracks of 3 feature films and will make a summer tour of 15 concerts across France with the Balkan fanfare Haidouti Orkestar.
Ibrahim has announced that he will be touring the world in September 2019 for the release of his 11th studio album “S3NS”! He will begin this tour with three special dates at the Olympia: 23, 24 and 25 September.
Ibrahim Maalouf (Arabic: ابراهيم معلوف, pronounced [ʔɪbraːˈhiːm maʕaːˈluːf]; born 5 December 1980 in Beirut) is a French-Lebanese jazz trumpeter and composer.
His father is trumpeter Nassim Maalouf and his mother is pianist Nada Maalouf. His uncle is the writer Amin Maalouf and his grandfather was the journalist, poet, and musicologist Rushdi Maalouf.
After leaving his home country as a child during the Lebanese Civil War, he grew up in Paris with his sister Layla. He studied there until the age of 17 and earned a degree in General Science and Specialized Mathematics from the Lycée Geoffroy-Saint-Hilaire in Étampes (Essonne).
When he was seven years old, he started to learn how to play the trumpet from his father, a former student of French trumpeter Maurice André at the Conservatoire de Paris. He learned classical, baroque, modern, and contemporary repertoires, as well as classical Arabic music and improvisation. His father invented the microtonal trumpet or “quarter tone trumpet”, which makes it possible to play Arabic maqams on the trumpet.
As a teenager Maalouf accompanied his father in a duo throughout Europe and the Middle East, playing a baroque repertoire by Tomaso Giovanni Albinoni, Henry Purcell, and Antonio Vivaldi. He performed a difficult classical piece, the Second Brandenburg Concerto by Johann Sebastian Bach. Maurice André advised him to give up science and pursue music instead. He took Andre’s advice and spent five years at the Conservatoire de Paris. He recorded with Matthieu Chedid, Vincent Delerm, and Arthur H. He became a teacher at CNR d’Aubervilliers-La Courneuve and gave master classes in the U.S. His first solo album was Diasporas (2007) on his label.
He has composed several movie soundtracks and several pieces for choirs and symphonic orchestras. He has worked with Sting, Salif Keita, Amadou & Mariam, Lhasa de Sela, Marcel Khalife, Vanessa Paradis, Juliette Greco, and Archie Shepp. He teaches improvisation at Conservatoire à Rayonnement Régional de Paris (Paris Regional Superieur Conservatory).
Maalouf passed an open competition at the CNR de Paris (regional Conservatory) and joined the class of Gérard Boulanger for a two-year training course. After that, he passed another open competition and joined the Conservatoire de Paris in Antoine Curé’s class for a three-year training course. He obtained degrees from both of these schools and entered national, European, and international trumpet competitions. He wrote more than 15 pieces for different ensembles from small to symphonic orchestras and choirs that were commissioned since 2005.
From 2006 to 2013, Maalouf was a trumpet instructor at the CNR of Aubervilliers, La Courneuve in France,
In 2000, Maalouf met producer Marc-Antoine Moreau, who introduced him to the cellist Vincent Segal. It was the beginning of a long and fruitful series of encounters. In November 2008, Maalouf played in the opera Welcome to the Voice at the Chatelet Theatre in Paris composed by Steve Nieve and directed by Muriel Teodori. Maalouf encountered on stage Elvis Costello, Sylvia Schwartz, and Sting, who played the lead role. Sting asked him to play on his album If on a Winter’s Night…
Maalouf has composed music since he was very young. He presented his compositions for the first time in 1999. His first group Farah had a Oriental jazz flavor because he was accompanied by a saxophone, a ney (Middle-Eastern end-blown flute), a transverse flute, a piano, a double bass, a guitar, a buzuq (a long-necked fretted lute related to the Greek bouzouki) and Arabic percussion. A concert recording by this group was broadcast on several music channels between 2004 and 2005.
In 2004, his encounter with Lhasa de Sela opened the doors of electronic music to him. His collaboration with pop and rock singers made him discover other musical styles apart from jazz, classical, and Arabic music. His compositions began to reflect a more contemporary style. In 2006, he met Alejandra Norambuena Skira (from the SACEM’s Action Fund), who introduced him to Jean-Louis Perrier. Perrier helped him to form the band with whom he gave a concert on February 12, 2006 at the Paris New Morning Jazz Club.
His music and his trumpet playing are inspired by his Arabic culture, but the instruments around him (bass, electric guitar, drums, Arabic percussion, vibraphone) and the musicians with whom he performs give a rock, electronic, and jazz funk flavor to his music.
Maalouf gets a lot of his inspiration from his culture of origin. This subject has been explored in the documentary Souffle! (Blow), directed by Christophe Trahand and produced by Cocottes Minutes between 2005 and 2006. Christophe Trahand followed Ibrahim for several months in pursuit of the key to his inspiration and to explore his relationship with his native country and the distance that separates him from it. This documentary was broadcast by TV5 MONDE and is available on DVD in the collection Docnet Films.
Between 1999 and 2003, Maalouf earned awards in fifteen competitions throughout the world. These include first prize in the Hungarian International Trumpet Competition in Pilisvörösvár in May 2002, first prize in the National Trumpet Competition (Washington D.C.) in 2001, and second prize (ex aequo) in the Maurice André International Competition in Paris in 2003. In July 2010, he was given the Instrumental Revelation of the Year at the French Jazz Music Awards (Victoires du Jazz). He won Best World Music Artist at the French Music Awards in 2014.