When someone mentions the career of Jean-Félix Lalanne, "extremely gifted guitarist" is the phrase that invariably comes to mind. He had his first guitar at 11 and was performing solo concerts within the year. He even shared a stage with Marcel Dadi who would later become his mentor. This collaboration brought the two of them to the Olympia itself in 1988.
At 14, after an album recorded in public, Jean-Félix joined the ranks of the elite guitarists at the Guitar Academy in Marseilles. Shortly afterwards he obtained his Licence de Concert for classical guitar and began teaching at the Academy.
At 17 he undertook his first musical project - an original and complex solo album which included nocturnes, waltzes, and some of Chopin's chants polonais.
His musical prowess did not stop there. He studied the art of orchestration, something which has always held a fascination for him. He also became an arranger/producer (Bonnie Tyler, Chimène Badie, Maxime Leforestier, Hélène Ségara, Lara Fabian and Amaury Vassily).
It was only natural that his first symphony saw the light of day when he was just 20 years old. The 'Symphonie Romantique' was performed by RTBF's Philharmonic Orchestra during the guitar festival at Liège (RTBF is a TV/radio broadcaster for the French speaking community in Belgium). Other concertos and symphonies would follow - some were performed at festivals in Europe and the USA.
After this came a period of industry-wide recognition: in 1986 he was nominated for the soundtrack of 'Le Passage' (The passage), starring Alain Delon, at the 'Victoires de la Musique' (French music awards ceremony), then in 2004 for René Manzor's 'Dédales' (Labyrinth). In 2010 he was appointed Chevalier in France's Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.
Here was a man who could turn his hand to anything: conductor, instrumentalist, composer, writer, arranger and producer. He was effectively defining a musical path for himself that would be impossible to pigeonhole.
To date, the artist for whom "playing is like the beating of a butterfly's wings" has recorded over 26 albums. He has crossed guitars with the likes of John McLaughlin, Larry Coryell, Chet Atkins, Jerry Reed and Doc Watson.
Over the course of his collaborations, Jean-Félix Lalanne has never stopped experimenting with new ideas. After bringing together a host of singers and musicians for his 'Autour de la guitare' (Around the guitar) album with Polydor, he decided to organise a concert of the same name. It was not only that some of the greatest singers and guitarists from all over the world were on the bill, it was the fact that there were also dancers, comedians and artists, making it an event that was appreciated by both the spectators and the performers alike.
The autumn of 2007 marked a turning point for the 'Autour de la guitare' concept with the release of a TF1 (French television channel) DVD box set containing recordings of the 2003, the 2006 and the 2007 concerts. The concerts of 2008 and March 2011 would in turn be released as videos.
In 2005 his passion for symphonic music caught up with him again. He wrote 'La Symphonie Astrale', a new orchestral piece consisting of 12 movements, each representing the signs of the zodiac. The originality of this symphony stood out because of its soloist trio of harp, piano and of course, guitar. After writing parts for the instruments of the Shanghai Chinese Traditional orchestra, he performed the piece alongside Lyon's Symphony Orchestra during a tour of China.