The extraordinary rise of the Franco-Israeli jazz pianist Yaron Herman has brought a breath of freshness and modernity to jazz without sacrificing the musicality of his compositions, which are meticulously executed with authentic virtuosity.
Updated on 27/03/2019
Born in 1981 in Tel Aviv, Israel, nothing in particular pointed to the fact that Yaron Herman would become such a prodigy. At 16, a thigh injury put an end to his basketball career. Sitting idle, he eventually discovered the power of music through an exhaustive education by Israeli coach Opher Bayer, who combined psychology, philosophy and mathematics. Accepted by Berkeley to study Musicology, he left Tel Aviv for the United States. But he disliked the competition there and ended up packing his bags for Paris.
In 2007, he partnered with Matt Brewer (double bass) and Gérald Cleaver (drums) on the album A Time for Everything, which launched the trio's career: Yaron Herman was named new artist of the year at the Victoires du Jazz in 2008.
In 2015, he joined the prestigious Blue Note label with Everyday, a virtuoso album that combines French and Middle Eastern influences.
As far as influences go, Yaron Herman is the product of his time, inspired as much by U2 as by John Coltrane, Keith Jarrett and even Britney Spears with his cover of Toxic. It is this mixture that has propelled him to the forefront of the scene, where he asserts his own vision for jazz. Since 2004, he has liked to explain in TED talks his theory of “real-time composition”: the Israeli pianist relies on limitless improvisation, a way of continuously releasing himself from fears and barriers that might undermine his creativity.
His latest album Y, released in 2017, reflects just this kind of spontaneity and musical openness, notably in the exceptional contributions of M, aka Matthieu Chedid.
Thanks to his Franco-Israeli origins, Yaron Herman is in fact a child of borders. Nevertheless, he attaches little importance to this fact and promotes music which is capable of breaking down barriers between peoples. His variations on the international pop repertoire, a palpable sign of cultural globalisation, have won him a worldwide reputation.
Indeed, he is a regular feature on the most prestigious stages, such as the Konzerthaus in Vienna and the Purcell Room in London, where he is known as one of the best soloists of his generation. In 2007, he was invited to play in Beijing, China at the heart of the Forbidden City, a first for a jazz pianist and a great honour for someone who has always sought to open himself to different musical cultures.
Following an injury to the thigh, Yaron Herman abandons his dreams as a professional basketball player and discovers a new passion for the piano.
Yaron Herman releases his first solo album, Variations, a disc praised by critics on which he improvises on themes from Gershwin or Gabriel Fauré, blended with Israeli songs.
Having been noticed by his peers, Yaron Herman is named new instrumental artist of the year at the Victoires du Jazz, a recognition that opens many doors.
Yaron Herman releases the duo album Everyday with drummer Ziv Ravitz, on the label Blue Note.
With Y, his latest album, Yaron Herman, positions himself as a leader and invites many artists to sing alongside his compositions, a mixture of pop and jazz that is very successful.
Yaron Herman visited Le Trianon in Paris on 25th June 2018 to open the France-Israel Season.
The France-Israel Season 2018 (June-November 2018) is organised and implemented by the Institut français, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of Israel, and the embassies of both countries.