Quentin Dujardin & Toots Thielemans
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Biography

Biography of Quentin Dujardin

Guitarist, composer & producer, Quentin Dujardin creates a unique universe around his nylon-string guitars influenced by jazz, classical music & blues. His unclassifiable work remains immutably attached to sound and emotion. Like a postcard, his melodies create bridges between music from elsewhere and our Western musical heritage.

Notable musical collaborations include Belgian harmonica player Toots Thielemans, American producer Lee Townsend, drummer Manu Katché, Iranian singer Mahsa Vahdat, and Roma violinist Iva Bittova, as well as Bijan Chemirani, Richard Bona, Bert Joris, Olivier Ker Ourio, Matthieu Saglio, Ivan Paduart, Didier Laloy and many others.

His work as a composer leads him particularly to produce the soundtrack for the theatrical adaptation of Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt‘s best-selling novel, Monsieur Ibrahim & des Fleurs du Coran. In 2011, Quentin Dujardin is invited to join the International Yehudi Menuhin Foundation to become an artist ambassador of this association with international influence. His soundtrack for the film Ma Forêt wins an award in 2012 at the United Nations Forum on Forests. In 2022, the guitarist received the award for Best Composer at Toronto Independent Film Festival (CAN) and at Nederland International Film Festival (US) for his original soundtrack on the film Paradisiac. After more than a thousand concerts, his music now counts more than 7 million streams in more than a hundred countries. He’s currently working as producer for the label AGUA music founded in 2000.

Quentin Dujardin’s career

This timeline traces major milestones in Quentin Dujardin's life that marked his musical development. As a guitarist and composer, he has been touring stages for more than 30 years and has recorded numerous albums celebrated by both the press and his audience.

17.11.1977

Birth

Born on November 17 in Dinant (BE), city of Adolphe Sax, inventor of the saxophone. Grows up in the Condroz region in the village of Durnal, at rue Fontaine de Gore n° 8. His father is a lawyer and his mother a Latin/Greek teacher.

1982

Musical studies

Begins classical guitar studies at the Conservatoire de musique de Ciney with Geneviève and Bernard Franco. He thus follows in the footsteps of his big brother, who already plays. He begins studying music theory alongside his father, Philippe and his five brothers and sisters (Vincent, Bertrand, Gauthier, Noémie & Ambroise). He immerses himself in the music of Lauro, Villa Lobos, Sor, Carulli, Bach, Barrios Mangoré and Brouwer, and listens to the great guitarists on vinyl: John Williams and Julian Bream.

1984

First guitar

Practices on his big brother’s instrument for two years, then his father gives him his first classical guitar. Becomes a choirboy and gives his first concerts as a duo with his brother Vincent at the village church. Listens on repeat to the very first CD the family bought following a visit to Bruges: Bach‘s Brandenburg Concertos.

1985-1990

Printemps de la Guitare

Michèle & Philippe, his parents, regularly welcome different guitarists to the house for the Concours International Printemps de la Guitare. Artists come from all over the world. He receives lessons from Petko Genkov (Bulgaria), Humberto Gonzalez Matamoros (Cuba), Luis Mantovani Jr. (Brazil) and Chibil Benev (Bulgaria). At the same time, his mother opens the restaurant Le Val de Gore in the family home. The living room also becomes an art gallery.

1989

Blues geniuses

Wins 1st Prize in the Edouard Bastin competition (Belgium). His father gives him a subscription to Geniuses of the Blues, an audio CD series with an encyclopedia that retraces the history of the blues. There he discovers the history of Eric Clapton, Robert Johnson, BB King, John Lee Hooker, etc. He enters the Collège de Saint-Paul in Godinne with a Latin/Greek option.

1990

Electric guitar

Spends all his money on his first electric guitar, an Epiphone Sheraton, and copies his first guitar solo: from Brothers in Arms by Mark Knopfler.

1991

Transparence

Discovers Philip Catherine‘s album Transparence in his father’s record library. A cassette copy plays on repeat on his Walkman. His father takes him to see his first jazz concert at the Théâtre du Residence Palace in Brussels, with Philip Catherine and Nicolas Fiszman among the other artists on stage. In the process, he decides to tune his radio every evening at 6 p.m. to Musiq3 to listen to Philippe Baron‘s jazz program. He frequents the only jazz club in the region, based in Dinant and run by Yves Beghuin. He hears Félix Simtaine, Steve Houben, Jean-François Prins, Roger Vanhaverbeke, etc. He works as a bartender there for several summers in a row listening to weekend jazz concerts for free.

1992

Diving into jazz

Takes his first jazz and improvisation courses with Pierre van Dormael and Erwin Vann at the Académie de Jambes. He discovers Question and Answer by Pat Metheny, I Took up the Runes by Jan Garbarek, Bad Benson by George Benson, Soul Cages by Sting, The Dynamic Duo by Wes Montgomery & Jimmy Smith, Before We Were Born by Bill Frisell, L’été indien by L’Ame des poètes, Extensions by Dave Holland and Live at the Royal Festival Hall by John McLaughlin. At the same time, he receives his classical guitar diploma and perfects his knowledge of classical music history. He begins lessons in classical harmony, chamber music and organ.

1993

Improvisation studies

Enrolls in the Académie Marcel Désiron d’Amay, studying in the jazz section with Fabien Degryse, and tries to change his vision of the guitar neck. He works hard at improvisation, rhythm and jazz harmony studies.

1994-1995

Jazz courses

Completes various jazz courses with Nathalie Loriers, Bart Defoort, Pierre Vaiana, Fabien Degryse and Pirly Zustrassen.

1996-2000

Flemish Royal Brussels Conservatory

Enters the Flemish Royal Brussels Conservatory and five years later obtains a Masters degree in jazz & light music. He takes classes from Peter Hertmans, Karl Van Deun, Kris Defoort and Diederik Wissels.

2000

First album

Records his first CD, La Fontaine de Gore, with Diederik Wissels, and founds the AGUA music label.

2001-2002

The Gipsy world

Sets off on the roads of Andalusia (Spain) to encounter flamenco and the gypsy world. He simultaneously continues his solo and duo concerts with Damien Libert across Belgium. He lives between Sacromonte de Granada, Seville, Cordoba, Jerez and his village, Durnal.

2003-2005

Morocco and concerts

Leaves for Morocco to encounter Berber and Andalusian music. He discovers the desert on the Mauritanian border and the tribes of the Atlas. He meets the violinist Jalal El Allouli in Marrakech, with whom he records the album Khamis. This disc is produced by RTBF & Didier Mélon. Several tours follow in France, Morocco, Luxembourg, Belgium & Quebec. A TV Live concert at Théâtre 140 is broadcast on the Belgian channel La Deux.

2004

Las Ruinas Jesuiticas

Departure for Paraguay to better understand the extraordinary story of the Guarani composer-guitarist Augustin Marrios Mangoré, an indigenous genius. He discovers Las Ruinas Jésuiticas and becomes aware of the importance of the Jesuit humanist thinking he encountered during his high school years.

2005

Vivre and Madagascar

Records the album Vivre, with Ivan Paduart, Nicolas Fiszman, Jalal El Allouli, Frédéric Malempré and Stephan Lay. The same year he makes his first trip to Madagascar, where he plays with local stars: Daminazy, Remanindry, Proshely and Rasoa Kininike, among others.

2006

Monsieur Ibrahim and the Flowers of the Koran

Composes the soundtrack for the theatrical adaptation of the best-selling novel Monsieur Ibrahim et les Fleurs du Coran, by Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt, a collaboration with Olivier Massart, Michel Kacenelenbogen and the Théâtre Le Public in Brussels.

2007-2008

Sur le chemin

In Paris, meets the French director Freddy Mouchard, with whom he travels for two years through Spain, Morocco, Madagascar and the United States. The latter directs the documentary Sur le chemin, about Quentin and his way of experiencing music. He records the album Veloma with Njava, Bai Kamara Jr., Jalal El Allouli, Tuur Florizoone, Arnout Hellofs, Damien Libert and Nicolas Fiszman. Makes his first trip to New York and collaborates on the soundtrack of the publicity film, Answer the Call, with the American actor, Harrison Ford. Produces Brunoise, for Nicolas Pirillo (performing on the Hang). He begins his collaboration with the photographer Jean Mahaux.

2009

Film festivals

He is invited to the World Film Festival of Tartu (Estonia) and the Film Brunch in Dresden (Germany) to present the documentary Sur le chemin. There he meets the French countertenor, Samuel Cattiau, with whom he creates the Resonance project the following year.

2010

Toots Thielemans, Yehudi Menuhin and Bamako

He records Impressioniste, alongside Toots Thielemans, at the legendary ICP Studios. This record is a tribute to his mother, Michèle, who ran Le Val de Gore, an art gallery-restaurant in the family living room. This place hosted many Belgian, French and English painters. Becomes an artist ambassador for the International Yehudi Menuhin Foundation and participates in international meetings of Tapovan (France) alongside Thierry van Roy, Iva Bittova and Matthieu Saglio. Travels to Mali, where he gets stuck in the Kalaban Coura district of Bamako waiting to retrieve his backpack, lost at the airport. There he meets Kalil Sidy Haïdara, with whom he forms the Kalaban Coura project. Together they record the album Aigabani with Jalal El Allouli, Boris Schmidt & Arnout Hellofs.

2011

San Francisco

First collaboration with the American producer, Lee Townsend, at legendary Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, California, for the production of the Kalaban Coura. The disc is distributed internationally and ranked among the best blues albums of the year by World Music Charts Europe. First writing residency in Drôme (France) for the Resonance project with Samuel Cattiau. Collaborates in Tunis with the Boston String Quartet for the album Perpetual Motion, by Amine and Hamza Mraihi, with whom he records his composition Omar, dedicated to his Malian painter friend.

2012

Distances

Birth of his daughter, Janette. Records Distances, again collaborating on the production in Berkeley with Lee Townsend. Release of the compilations Putumayo World Yoga and African Blues N° 4 (US), with the Quentin Dujardin the titles 1977 and Mali. His works opens a much wider audience on American radio. Records the single Papa Rosa with Jef Neve, Olivier Hernandez & Boris Schmidt.

2013

Ma Forêt

Composes the soundtrack for the short film Ma Forêt, by Sébastien Pins. The film wins 14 awards and is selected at more than 400 festivals around the world. The soundtrack is awarded at the United Nations Forum on Forests (US). First French tours with Resonance. Collaborates with the Iranian singer Mahsa Vahdat, with whom he records an album alongside Nicolas Fiszman and Olivier Hernandez. This disc remains unreleased following a disagreement with the Norwegian producer of the singer.

2014

Le silence des saisons

Releases the disc Le silence des saisons. The title composition is selected for the prestigious SoundTrack_Cologne and Berlin Short Film Festival (Germany).

2015

Compostelle and Ialma

Composes the soundtrack for the film Compostelle, le chemin de la vie by Freddy Mouchard (FR) with Julie Mondor, and on this occasion meets the singers, Galiciennes de Ialma. He immediately signs up to produce their album Camiño. Also collaborates on the soundtrack of the film Etre by Fara Sene (France), notably with Bruno Solo and David Murgia.

2016-2017

Resonance and Catharsis

Records the album Resonance in the Romanesque church of Mont-devant-Sassey (FR) with Samuel Cattiau and Matthieu Saglio, production by Thierry Van Roy. Records the disc Catharsis with Ivan Paduart, Richard Bona, Bert Joris, Olivier Ker Ourio and Manu Katché. Produces the Camiño project for the Galician singers of Ialma (Spain), with whom he gives more than 300 concerts throughout Europe and Canada.

2018

Illuminations

Records the album Illuminations, with Samuel Cattiau, Matthieu Saglio, Léo Ullmann, Doron David Sherwin and Bijan Chemirani, at the Abbaye de Noirlac (France). Several tours follow in France, Belgium, Morocco, India and Holland.

2019

Water and Fire

Birth of his son, Aimé. Records Water & Fire with Didier Laloy and Adrien Tyberghein. They perform more than 80 concerts together. Composes the music for the short film Resonance, La Cité ardente, dedicated to the industrial heritage of the Liège Basin. This project brings together the Choeur symphonique and the Maîtrise de l’Opéra Royal de Wallonie-Liège, as well as the members of Resonance.

2020

2020

During confinement, he records the album 2020, with Didier Laloy, Nicolas Fiszman and Manu Katché, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of his label AGUA music.

2021

Crupet: the forbidden concert

During confinement, the Belgian government authorizes worship gatherings for up to 15 people, but prohibits gatherings in cultural spaces. To protest these absurd Covid measures, he gives a solo concert on February 14 for 15 people in the Romanesque church of Crupet. He is stopped by the police while performing his Ave Maria. Soon after, on April 27, the guitarist wins his case against the state of emergency and allows culture to officially re-open by setting a precedent for the entire profession. Releases the first EP, AGUA sessions #01, alongside Didier Laloy, Nicolas Fiszman, Adrien Tyberghein and Manu Katché. Gives several streaming concerts, notably for Julien Brocal‘s Musical Garden, as well as for the International Yehudi Menuhin Foundation at the Coudenberg Palace.

2022

Paradisiac and L'Oeil du Condroz

Birth of his daughter, Douce. Consecutively receives the Best Composer award at the Toronto Independent Film Festival of CIFT (CAN) and Nederland International Film Festival (US) for his original music from the film Paradisiac. His first live album is released alongside Manu Katché, Didier Laloy and Boris Schmidt. The artist also releases several singles, including Nomad and Golden Stream. He inaugurates L’Oeil du Condroz, a reception area in his garden for artists, with an outdoor stage and a residence space. To date the guitarist has given more than 1,000 concerts around the world and has collaborated with dozens of musicians, filmmakers, photographers, painters and dancers. His total work exceeds 7 million streams on the net.

360° Artist

360° artist, Creative and sustainable autonomy

Individual training offered by Quentin Dujardin to the non-classical & classical music sector.

Quentin Dujardin - Formation Artiste 365°