Jean Sulem studied at the Paris Conservatoire with Serge Collot where he has obtained a 1st Prize in 1980. From 1981 to 1990 he was the principal viola of the Ensemble Intercontemporain under the direction of Pierre Boulez.
He is very active in performing and defending new repertoire for his instrument and several composers have written works for him. He is also a founding member of the Rosamonde String Quartet formed in 1981. As a soloist and as a chamber music player he has appeared in many international festivals in Europe, America, Russia, Japan, Korea and Australia and has recorded more than thirty CDs.Since 1990 he is Professor of viola and chamber music at the Paris Conservatoire. He is also Professor at the Tibor Varga Music Academy in Sion (Switzerland) since 1990 and at the Cervo Summer Academy (Italy) since 1996. He is regularly invited to give master-classes in Europe, America and Asia and to serve as jury member in international competitions. Several of his former students play in top string quartets or occupy leading positions in European orchestras.