One of Monaco’s most important behind-the-curtains musical figures, Jean-René Palacio, died on Tuesday, May 25, at Princess Grace Hospital at the age of 67.

He was artistic director of the Société des Bains de Mer in Monaco for twenty years and created the highly-successful Monte-Carlo Jazz Festival in 2006 and took the bold decision to use the Opéra de Monte-Carlo venue to welcome first rank artistes such as James Brown, Diana Ross and Vanessa Paradis.

Known for his commitment to high standards, he was also very modest. Asked about bringing jazz to Monaco, he said: “It was here long before me! Frank Sinatra came in 1958, with Quincy Jones and his orchestra. Then Stan Getz, André Ceccarelli and the cream of French jazz, who performed alongside Aimé Barelli, the conductor for the Monte-Carlo Sporting Summer Festival. I just wanted to continue to write this great story of jazz in the Principality, but also to provide an autumnal music offering, in addition to the summer program that is already very rich. This is how the Monte Carlo Jazz Festival was born.”

He and his wife became naturalised Monegasques in 2020.