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BIOGRAPHY

 “Pioneer Composer, musician, arranger, playwright, screenwriter, producer and bandleader.”

EARLY LIFE AND CAREER


Jean Jean-Pierre, the founder and director of the Kiskeya Orchestra and its driving force, is a journalist, composer, musician, arranger, playwright, screenwriter, producer and bandleader. His unrelenting passion to affirm his Haitian identity and represent the rich and vibrant culture of Haiti led to the birth of the orchestra. Born and raised in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Mr. Jean Jean-Pierre began his training as a drummer and gained invaluable experience as a young musician performing locally with the Bossa Combo Band and with popular recording artists such as Haiti’s star Ansy Derose, Brazilian vocalist Nelson Ned, and Puerto Rican singer Daniel Santos. He moved to the United States in the summer of 1974 and quickly immersed himself in New York’s music world. Since then he has distinguished himself as a musician and composer, performing with several touring bands whose styles range from R & B to pop-rock. Pursuing his commitment to affirm his Haitian identity and represent the best of Haitian society and culture, Mr. Jean Jean-Pierre began a journalistic career focused on Haitian issues, writing for the Village Voice and United Nations Radio and as a columnist for the Gannett Newspapers – all while writing and producing music.

In 1995, along with Academy Award-winning filmmaker Jonathan Demme and human rights attorney Michael Ratner, Mr. Jean-Pierre co-founded MAPOU Productions Ltd., dedicated to promoting the rich and vibrant culture of Haiti. The same year, Mr. Jean-Pierre and MAPOU Productions produced Bouyon Rasin, the landmark Haitian-international “roots” music festival. Since then he has produced regular musical events at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center and Carnegie Hall.

In 1995 Mr. Jean-Pierre worked assiduously with Haiti’s Ministry of Culture to help reinstate Haiti to the Convention of Berne (for the protection of author’s rights). Currently Mr. Jean-Pierre is the bandleader and founder of Kiskeya. The Haitian Orchestra and recently composed the Ode to Jean Do, a musical composition in Jonathan Demme’s recently released film, the Agronomist, recounting the life of Haiti’s foremost journalist Jean Dominique, tragically slain on April 3, 2000.

In the aftermath of the worst tragedy that has befallen Haiti on January 12, 2010, Mr. Jean-Pierre traveled to the Dominican Republic because he was, as he said :“bolstered by a deep sense of gratitude, for the way our neighbors came to lend their support to Haitians”. A few days later, with the help of Mr. José Rafael Lantigua. Minister of Culture and the great conductor and arranger, Maestro Jose Antonio Molina, he recorded with the Dominican Republic Symphonic Orchestra “Ayiti Leve Kanpe/ Haiti Get Back Up”, an 8 min. time capsule he composed to chronicle the day of the earthquake that took the lives of more than 225,000 people. This was recorded on January 27, 2010 at El Palacio de Bellas Artes. In August 2010, Mr. Jean-Pierre was honored by the Ministry of Culture of the Dominican Republic at the Teatro Nacional during the season opening of the orchestra. The execution of his composition “Ayiti Leve Kanpe/ Haiti Get Back Up” received rousing applause from the audience of a packed house.

Jean Jean-Pierre, the founder and director of the Kiskeya Orchestra and its driving force, is a journalist, composer, musician, arranger, playwright, screenwriter, producer and bandleader. His unrelenting passion to affirm his Haitian identity and represent the rich and vibrant culture of Haiti led to the birth of the orchestra. Born and raised in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Mr. Jean Jean-Pierre began his training as a drummer and gained invaluable experience as a young musician performing locally with the Bossa Combo Band and with popular recording artists such as Haiti’s star Ansy Derose, Brazilian vocalist Nelson Ned, and Puerto Rican singer Daniel Santos.