Jasser Haj Youssef

Violinist and composer (1980 - Monastir, Tunisie)

Jasser Haj Youssef’s music mixes classical, eastern, jazz and indian influences, especially when using the viola d’amore, a forgotten instrument of the European baroque that he brought up to date.

Introduced to eastern music and improvisation by his father at a very young age, Jasser Haj Youssef studied violin at the Monastir Conservatoire before completing his training alongside Elena Pirvu at the Institut supérieur de musique in Sousse and by attending many master classes. At the age of only 19, he was noticed during a jazz festival by guitarist Fawzi Chekili who offered him to join his band. Jasser also joined at the same period the Orchestre Symphonique of Tunis. After he got his diploma in classical music and a master degree in music and musicology at Sousse, he moved to France in 2003 to continue his musical education. That was the starting point of many solo performances for artists like Soeur Marie Keyrouz, Cheikha Rimitti or Elie Achkar.

Drawn to jazz since the beginning, he followed a curriculum Jazz et musiques improvises at the Université Paris VIII and studied under Didier Lockwood, Khalil Chahine, Toufic Farroukh, Mokhtar Samba and more importantly with French trumpet player Geoffroy De Masure. Together, they started a extensive work around jazz and Arabic music. At the same period, Jasser Haj Youssef got involved in many classical and baroque projects with the Orchestre de la Paix and the ensembles Aramea, Diabolus In Musica and Béatus. In 2008, he founded his own ensemble, the Jasser Haj Youssef Quartet. They give concerts in the Arabic world and in Europe.

On top of a rich career as a performer,Jasser Haj Youssef regularly composes for great formations and hosts conferences all around the world. His music was one of the exam for the baccalauréat in 2015.

Five landmark dates in the life of Jasser Haj Youssef

2003: left his natal Tunisia to move to Paris.

2007: composed the music for Sposa Persiana by Carlo Goldoni, a play staged by Simona Morini and presented at the Biennale in Venice.

2011: The Tunisian Ministry of Culture offered him a grant for a residence à the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris.

2013: conducted for one of his creations the Orchestre des Jeunes de la Méditerranée at the Festival International d'Art Lyrique in Aix-en-Provence.

2012: Released his first album, Sira.

Radio France Documentation Biography, May 2015.