Joëlle Léandre is a famous French Bassist and is known for her collaborations with other musicians in the field of improvised music. Born in France on September 12th, 1951, she made her music debut in 1984 with Les Douze Sons. Her childhood was filled with music, and she was particularly interested in the piano during her early years. In her later years, she developed an interest in double bass, which won her many honors and scholarships during her education. Her double bass teacher Pierre Delescluse encouraged her to apply to the Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique de Paris, where she was formally trained and noticed for her talent in the bass. Her outstanding musicianship took her to the United States and to the Centre for Creative and Performing Arts in Buffalo through a scholarship. In the United States, she expanded her network and met some of the best composers, such as John Cage, Giacinto Scelsi, and Morton Feldman. Among them, John Cage greatly influenced her music and compositions. Her time in the United States also enabled her to experience downtown New York music, which was another significant influence that led to her continued involvement in the field of improvised music.
Some of her notable collaborations in the field of contemporary music are with Pierre Boulez, Merce Cunningham, John Cage, and Giacinto Scelsi. Among them, John Cage and Giacinto Scelsi were the biggest influences in her life and music. In an interview, Joëlle Léandre said that John Cage was her spiritual father and changed her perception of sound and music. In another interview, she tells how Giacinto Scelsi allowed her to discover her own music and how his music transported her into a new world of improved consciousness. In the field of jazz music, she collaborated with Derek Bailey, William Parker, and Sebi Tramontana. Her music was owned and distributed by different music labels, including FMP, Leo, RougueArt, and Red Toucan. Some memorable songs and albums she released throughout the years include Instant Replay, Les Douze sons, Trios, Sweet Zee, Frerebet, Joelle et Tetsu, Philippe Fenelon, Voyages, etc. Some of the recent releases include Can You Hear Me and Unleashed. She has also performed live at the Tampere Jazz Festival twice, where popular international artists compete with each other.
Joëlle Léandre is also the member of European Women’s Improvising Group (EWIG). The group evolved from the Feminist Improvising Group, and Joëlle Léandre joined the group in 1983. In the early 1900s, she co-founded Les Diaboliques with Irene Schweizer and Maggie Nicols, who were her long-time musician friends. Besides that, she also teaches several classes in prestigious universities about contemporary and improvised music. She has lived in France, Germany, and U.S during her lifetime, teaching at academic institutions in the religions and playing concerts. In 2002, she was invited to Canada as a visiting professor for music and composition.