Jean-François Denis first discovered electroacoustics during a summer course given by Kevin Austin in 1981 at Concordia University in Montréal. Hooked, he pursued music studies at Mills College in Oakland (California, USA) under David Rosenboom (MFA, 1984). He has worked in live electroacoustics (solo and in ensembles) and works for dance and multimedia from 1982 until the mid-90s.
In 1994, for his exceptional commitment to Canadian composers, he was awarded the Friends of Canadian Music Award organized by the Canadian Music Centre (CMC) and the Canadian League of Composers (CLC). In 1995 he was presented the Jean A Chalmers Award for Musical Composition — Presenters’ Award for his contribution to the diffusion of new Canadian (electroacoustic music) work. In 2011 he was awarded the Prix Opus 2009-10: Artistic Director of the Year for his 20-year involvement in sound recording publishing / production.
Jean-François Denis is one of the three co-founders and co-artistic directors (1991-2008) and first president (1991-2009) of the concert presenter Réseaux des arts médiatiques.
He has taught electroacoustics at Concordia University (1985-89) in Montréal where he also directed the Concordia Electroacoustic Composers’ Group (CECG) annual concert series. He is the editor of the CECG Tape Collection catalogs Q/Résonance (1988) and Q/Résonance Addendum (1989). Jean-François Denis was a member of the organizing committee of the Festival/Conference 2001(-14) (Montréal, May 1987). He is a founding member (1986) and the first president of the Canadian Electroacoustic Community (CEC) (1986-87; 1987-90) and the founder and first editor of the CEC publication Contact! (1988-90) and has edited the 1988 CEC Electroacoustic Days Diffusion! GUIDE and the 1989 >convergence< GUIDE.
He was awarded a fellowship grant from the ministère des Affaires culturelles du Québec (1988), from the Canada Council for the Arts (1988; 1989-90, 1993), and from the French Government (1990), was an artist in residence at the studio Grame (Lyon, France, 1988), at the Media Arts program of The Banff Centre for the Arts (Banff, Alberta, 1989), and at the studio Collectif & Cie (Annecy, France, 1990).
Jean-François Denis is an Associate Composer of the Canadian Music Centre (CMC) (1989) and a member of the Canadian League of Composers (CLC) (1990).
He has also been on several boards of directors: Conseil québécois de la musique (CQM) (for several years, until September 1998; 2009-10), Canadian Music Centre — Québec Region (2001-08), Canadian Music Centre — National (2002-08), Et Marianne et Simon (founder, 2001-08), Les Filles électriques (founder, 2001-07), SOCAN Foundation (2003-09; vice-president 2009-12; president 2012-15; outgoing president 2015-), SODRAC (2009-), and Association des professionnels de l'édition musicale (APEM) (president 2014-).