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Photo © Peter Cobbin
Gabriel Yared was born in 1949 and lived in Lebanon for the first eighteen years of his life. He attended a Jesuit boarding school in Beirut where he spent most of his time between the age of 4 and 14. Alongside his studies he learned music on his own, practising on the school organ and reading the repertoire thanks to the musical library of the Jesuits. He was first and foremost fascinated by what he heard and was soon determined to learn the techniques of musical composition, and pursued this by reading the classical repertoire. Although he benefited from a classical education with the great masters, including Dutilleux and Maurice Ohanna, he remains at heart a fervent self-taught musician, open to all kinds of music. At the end of the 1960s he worked every night in the jazz clubs of Rio de Janeiro for 18 months, and met several Brazilian musicians who had a profound impact upon his music – Ivan Lins, Jorge Bem, Milton Nascimento, Egberto Gismonti, and many others. During the 1970s Yared collaborated as a song writer and orchestrator with, among others, Johnny Hallyday, Sylvie Vartan and the Costa Brothers. He has also written music for dance and says: “I have a love of composing for dance choreography. More so than for cinema, this medium satisfies my needs to compose for the illusion, the imagination. While cinema communicates its message essentially though image and dialogue, ballet on the other hand draws its inspiration from music. Choreography is born from it, music is often the source of dance and movement.” Since 1980 Yared has devoted most of his time to composing original scores for film, and has worked on over seventy movies to date, including Betty Blue, The Talented Mr Ripley, Sylvia, Cold Mountain and The English Patient directed by Anthony Minghella which received an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, and a Grammy.