Composer and Assistant Professor at the University of Iowa, Jean-François Charles is also a clarinetist and electronic musician. He creates at the crossroads of music and technology, as in the soundtrack to Dziga Vertov's Kimo-Pravda No. 5 & 6 (with Nicolas Sidoroff and Krystian Sarrau, 2021) or in his musical chemistry work with Scientific Glassblower Benj Revis (Aqua ignis, 2018). His opera Grant Wood in Paris was commissioned by the Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre and premiered April 12-14, 2019.
As a clarinetist, he has performed with classical, jazz, and other sound artists, from Maurice Merle to Douglas Ewart or Gozo Yoshimasu. He worked with Karlheinz Stockhausen for the world première of Rechter Augenbrauentanz (Stockhausen-Verlag CD #59). His album Electroclarinet was awarded prizes at the Global Music Awards in both categories Contemporary Classical Album and Composition/Composer. The music was reviewed as full of drama and drive (Dolf Mulder, Vital Weekly) or colorful and jazzy, giving the listener a plethora of timbral explosions (Lori Ardovino, The Clarinet Journal).
He studied at the National Institute for Applied Sciences (INSA) in Lyon, then at the Strasbourg Conservatory with Italian composer Ivan Fedele and clarinetist Armand Angster. He earned his Ph.D. in music composition at Harvard, where he studied with Hans Tutschku, Chaya Czernowin, Julian Anderson, Michael Gandolfi, Helmut Lachenmann, and Gunther Schuller. His article A Tutorial on Spectral Sound Processing using Max/MSP and Jitter published in the Computer Music Journal has helped many electronic musicians integrate spectral sound processing into live performances, compositions, or their own software creations.