A pianist and composer, Jean-François Zygel is also a very well-known and talented improviser. He improvises alone, in duet with great jazzmen (Antoine Hervé, Didier Lockwood), for silent films, plays or ballets, as well as for the radio and the television.
Jean-François Zygel is fond of jazz music; however, he considers very important an improvisation based upon a classical education, fed by 20th century music.
His latest solo album is named Improvisations. For the 100th anniversary of the first ever original film score, Jean-François Zygel also wrote and performed a piano accompaniement of a masterpiece of the silent films: L'Argent, by Marcel L'Herbier (a Carlotta Films DVD, 2008).
From 1996 to 2007, he performed at the Mairie du XXe arrondissement in Paris, where he gave "Music Lessons" (Leçons de musique in French) in public. Since 2007, those performance are taking place at the Théâtre du Châtelet. Some of them have been recorded and released on DVD. In the "Keys To The Orchestra" series (in French, Les Clefs de l'orchestre), Jean-François Zygel explains masterpieces of the symphonic repertoire to a large public. He is accompanied by the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. All those recorded performances, released on the naïve label, are available on medici.tv.
Jean-François Zygel teaches improvisation at the Paris Conservatory (CNSMDP). He won a Victoire de la Musique Classique in 2006.