Picture Credit to Philippe Cap
Born in Paris, France in 1985, New York based guitarist and composer Michael Valeanu is one of the most exciting players of his generation. His passion for Jazz and for all the other genres of music he came across while growing up as a musician in France and in the United States has allowed him to create a unique voice on his instrument.
Michael started studying guitar when he was 14 years old but music was always around him. He recalls playing with his dad's guitar since he was able to stand. "My dad is a music lover and an amateur guitarist. He would play guitar to my mom's belly when I was in the womb. He passed onto me the love for this instrument and he exposed me to a lot of different music, regardless of any stylistic boundaries."
While in Paris, he studied at the Nadia & Lili Boulanger Conservatory and at the Edim / National School of Music of Bourg-la-Reine. During those years, the young guitarist was trying to get the most out of what Paris had to offer musically. He became very quickly active on the Parisian musical scene as a sideman and would regularly get hired for studio work. At this time, he also started playing and listening to music from North and West Africa, from Brazil and he even studied classical guitar ."I was obsessed with anything new I wasn't able to do or understand."
In 2008, in order to quench his thirst for music and to learn "Real Jazz" he moved to New York City and attended the New School For Jazz and Contemporary Music. "I was finally able to study and play with my heroes and I was surrounded by young talented musicians." In 2010, he was selected to participate in the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead Program for a two-weeks residency at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC. In 2015, he was designated second runner-up in the Wes Montgomery International Jazz Guitar Competition.
Since then, Michael has played across the world from New York, in Jazz clubs such as Small's, Jazz Standard, Birdland and Smoke to other clubs and festivals all over the States, Europe and Japan.